Essentials is a new series on my blog that tries to tackle two problems of modern consumerism - 1) The tendency to mindlessly buy things that we don't need and 2) The tendency to end up buying something we need that isn't the best in the category in terms of it's aesthetic and functional value.
There's probably nothing I truly need on a daily basis more than coffee. Besides waking me up, coffee also enables me to take a moment to reflect on what I need to get done during the day while catching up on some light reading. This is why the first post on the essentials section was directed towards sharing how I choose to brew my coffee and why.
That said, what equipment you use to brew your coffee is just half the battle won. Once you've figured out the best equipment to brew your perfect cup of coffee, you are going to have to get the best coffee available near you. Back in the day, this meant buying imported packaged coffee from the likes of Starbucks and although it'd be sourced from some of the best coffee farms in the world, by the time it would reach you, it would have lost its essence. This is because the freshness (aroma and flavour) of a coffee is at its peak in between 7-12 days, post which it starts deteriorating.
That is where Blue Tokai steps in. Besides sourcing their coffee from some of the best local coffee farms in the country, they ship the coffee within a day of roasting. They roast small batches twice a week, based on actual orders received, shipping them the next day, thereby ensuring that by the time it reaches you, you can enjoy peak the coffee at its peak.
I chose their M.S. Estate blend which is described as a well-balanced medium roast, with a fruity aroma and nutty finish (ideal for people like me who drink their coffee black.) I also read a bit about the farm and as someone who values sustainability, I was pleased to know about the care with which the coffee is grown in the farms that spread across the Sahyadri range of the Western Ghats in Chickmagalur, Karnataka. Cultivation over the 600 hectares is done in a way that isn't disruptive to the natural forests (maintaining the natural habitat of birds, including myna, parrots, peacocks, woodpeckers, owls and parakeets, as well as animals such as bison, deer, foxes, and wild boars.) I was also delighted to read that all employees and their families are offered rudimentary healthcare, education, and housing.
The estate has also won several awards including the bronze award at the "Grands Crus De Café" contest held at Paris, organised by Association Connaissance Du Café Concours Paris 2004. It was also ranked in the top ten best coffees in Illy Cafe's "Indian Coffee Quality Prize" held in Trieste, Italy.
You can order their coffees along with starter kits here.