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Adjaruli Coffee: Seaside Beans with an Exotic History

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The Adjaruli coffee growing region along Georgia's Black Sea coast yields beans with a unique taste profile owing to its scenic seaside locale. Nestled along the Turkish border in western Georgia, the fertile valleys and humid climate of this exotic enclave produce coffee cherries distinguished from other world varieties for their savory, spice-forward flavor notes.

A Secluded Agricultural Enclave Near the Black Sea

As I traveled the winding mountain roads towards Batumi, glimpses of the deep blue Black Sea periodically emerged between lush foliage. Descending towards the coast, vast citrus orchards and cocoa farms blanketed the countryside, perfuming the air with their awakening aromas. Upon reaching the valley floors, neatly-tended coffee groves stretched as far as the eye could see.

The isolated Adjarian province remains somewhat insular despite growing tourism in recent years. Local farmers still cultivate coffee, citrus and other tropical crops using traditional methods passed down for generations. Wet processing of the hand-picked cherries within hours of harvest results in beans noted for their distinctive savory and spice characteristics.

My guide explained how the maritime climate and fertile volcanic soil nurtured unique varietals over centuries of selective breeding. Heavy morning mists followed by hot, humid afternoons allowed the coffee shrubs to flourish virtually untouched since Ottoman rule. The remnants of ancient stone grape presses amid the groves testified to a long agricultural heritage in this verdant coastal enclave.

A Rich Brew Worth Seeking Out

Settling in at a local farmhouse for a traditional coffee ceremony, I eagerly anticipated my first taste of the fabled Adjaruli brew. As the silex simmered fragrant grounds, inviting aromas of cardamom, toasted nuts and lively berries filled the room. Taking my first sip revealed robust cocoa and spice flavors dancing on the tongue, balanced by a vibrant acidity and lingering finish.

Rather than overpowering acidity common in other light-roasted varieties, the Adjaruli coffee presented nuanced berry, floral and herbal notes unfolding with each sip. A savoriness reminiscent of fresh-roasted coffee balanced its bright acidity. No other coffee had prepared my palate for these unique spice and savory characterisics.

Word of Adjaruli coffee's complex qualities slowly spreads, attracting specialty roasters and coffee geeks to the region. While production remains quite modest, discerning drinkers seek out limited harvests for their diverse, stimulating flavor profiles unlike any else. For aficionados of distinctive coffee, the Adjarulian varietals offer exquisite spice and intrigue well worth the journey to sample.

Production and Harvest of Adjaruli Coffee

Arabica coffee varietals like Typica and Bourbon dominate Adjarulian estates, expertly cultivated at altitudes from 600-1200 meters above sea level. During harvest season from November through January, skilled farmers carefully pick only fully ripe cherries to ensure optimal development.

Wet processing immediately follows to remove the fruit pulp surrounding each bean. The fresh parchment is left to dry in the sunshine, periodically raked by hand, for up to two weeks. Once reaching a moisture level around 10%, the cherries are mechanically hulled and graded to certify top quality.

Roasting brings out each varietal's unique flavors, from medium roasts highlighting berry and floral notes to darker profiles accentuating caramel, cocoa and spice. Local estates like დიდი წყარო offer tours and tastings showcasing their commitment to sustainable, traceable harvests. Views spanning citrus and coffee groves to the turquoise sea make an idyllic backdrop for sampling Adjarulian bean selections.

Tasting Adjaruli Coffee Varietals

Visiting the გეოკუიზინ ბეირიჯ cafe and roastery in Batumi allowed a guided tasting of single origin Adjaruli coffees, with their extensive tasting notes.

Yeast Strain Notable Tasting Characteristics
Ajarian Bourbon Dark chocolate, red berries, toasted nuts, mild acidity
Ajarian Typica Lively berry flavors, spice, balanced body and bright acidity

The cafe sources directly from sustainable local farms, allowing traceability from "seed to cup." Their light and medium roasted selections showed off ripe berry, floral and herbal complexity while darker profiles brought out nutty cocoa and spice. Each varietal presented one-of-a-kind profiles showcasing Georgia's distinct terrior. Returning home, I looked forward to experimenting with recipes accentuating Adjaruli coffee's unique characteristics.

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