Velton’s Coffee is back at the Table after a long time away; this time we have their annual Holiday Blend here to make the season bright! This year Holiday Blend is quite a departure from blends of holidays past, as it is comprised of two Indonesian coffees: the Java Sunda Hejo Kiara Manuk and the Papua New Guinea Plantation A/X.
Java Sunda Hejo Kiara Manuk
Sunda Hejo is a premium mark from the Klasik Beans Cooperative, which maintains a close relationship with Olam Specialty Coffee. This coffee comes from small holder farmers in the mountainous region around the beautiful city of Bandung in West Java. The fresh cherry for the coffee is carefully chosen and pulped in small batches. Fermented overnight and washed clean, the parchment is dried on raised beds in bamboo greenhouses. A truly hand-crafted coffee!
Manuk means Bird, and Kiara is the indigenous tree in Sunda. It was mentioned that nearby this place there is a big Kiara tree with a big bird’s nest. The local people therefore named this place Kiara Manuk. Kiara Manuk is located in the south west valley of the Tilu Mountain. It is a very beautiful plantation that borders a tea plantation.*
Papua New Guinea Plantation A/X
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Unfortunately, this component had very little traceability available online. What I do know is this coffee hails from Papua New Guinea and was graded A/X.)
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Holiday Blend, from Velton’s Coffee Roasting Company in Everett, Washington. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: Bandung, Java, Indonesia // Papua New Guinea
producer: smallholder farmers // N/A
association: Klasik Beans Cooperative // N/A
elevation: >1200 // N/A meters above sea level
cultivars: Ateng, Jember, S795, Typica // N/A
process: fully washed, patio dried
The aroma of Velton’s Coffee’s 2015 Holiday Blend is pretty full-on, and it wafts out of the bag with authority; it has a massive presence not ordinarily found in traditional holiday blends. There’s a little bit of a roast to it, but it’s an appropriate amount for the style; what’s throwing me off is its mustiness, which I presume is a contribution from the PNG component. It doesn’t take over the aroma, though; in fact, it serves to enhance to the notes of subtle fruits, dark chocolate, and pine needles.
Taking my first few sips, the coffee’s flavor matches its aroma – it’s a massive, full-bodied coffee that features a heavy, earthy mouthfeel. A little bit of the mustiness from the aroma shows up in the cup, in addition to toasted dark chocolate malts, toffee, cedar, pine needles, roasted cashew, and cloves. As the cup cools off, the mouthfeel gets much juicier as flavors of black cherry, fig, and a subtly tart grapefruit acidity crack through the coffee’s earthy crust, rounding out the cup with a clean, satisfying finish.
Full body; juicy mouthfeel; citric acidity; clean finish.
Every year, Velton’s Coffee changes up the components and the roast profile of their annual holiday blend. A couple years ago, for example, Velton’s used coffees from Kenya and Sulawesi to create a holiday blend that was sweet and fruity.
This year, Velton’s Coffee’s Holiday Blend features coffees from Papua New Guinea and Java to create the coffee equivalent of a winter warmer. It’s a big, full-bodied coffee that embodies a lot of the flavors of the season in a different, unique, nontraditional way. A great coffee to curl up on the couch in front of a fire with, or one to put in a thermos and trudge through the woods in search of the perfect Christmas tree.
*content provided by Olam Specialty Coffee
Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.