Albert Einstein once wrote- “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value”. Marwin Shaw’s (of Monk Bodhi Dharma / Disciple Roasters) unwavering commitment to quality and goodness, has seen him cultivate both success and respect.
His ongoing relationship with producers like Ninety Plus Coffee is but one avenue he harnesses such quality from. These producers of some of the world’s most extraordinary coffee last month attracted the highest bid ever at a Gesha Auction. Rather than focusing on the $5,000 per kilo price tag Lot 227 attained, Marwin prefers to emphasis the fact that this calibre of coffee differentiates a Gesha that scores 97/100, from commodity coffee. Thus showing a point of difference in the market. There are leaders in the industry who are willing to push the boundaries. By striving to become a better version of themselves, they inspire others to improve themselves too. ‘Game changer’ may be a notion thrown around easily these days, but Lot 227 is certainly one of the most extraordinary coffees Ninety Plus has ever produced. It’s no surprise Chad Wang won the 2017 World Brewers Cup Championship with it. More importantly, it’s created a shift in coffee farming, and placed Ninety Plus firmly at the forefront of innovation.
I was fortunate enough to sample Lot 227, and the complex flavours in my cup were like nothing I have ever tasted before. Full credit must go to José Alfredo, General Manager of the Ninety Plus Gesha Estates in Panama, who carefully worked on his unique fermentation style. These producers don’t just talk the talk- their commitment to leaving coffee better than they found it; is backed up by their genuine care for community. Farmers are remunerated exceptionally well, and the health of the ecosystem is an imperative.
Now- back to what I was tasting- ‘complex’ would not suffice as a descriptor. It doesn’t taste like coffee as you know it to be. What the palate experiences is multidimensional. White peach, lilac, cola, cocoa nibs, and even umami…. flavours I never knew I could unearth from the humble brown bean.
Ninety Plus aren’t just transforming the coffee farming model, they have managed to alter my understanding of what coffee is.