Coffee Club Review: Mpenjati's Yellow Honey Cataui - locally grown in KZN!

Thursday, 20 April, 2023

This is the second coffee we are featuring of the six coffee in this edition’s Discover Great Coffee Club box, and believe me, it is a very special coffee!

Introducing....Mpenjati Coffee - Yellow Honey Cataui!

Firstly, did you read the article on Oceanic Coffee on page 22 of this issue’s magazine? Well, this catuai variable of arabica coffee is a perfect example of delicious oceanic coffee! Grown on the KZN south coast, in Munster on Mpenjati farm, this coffee is naturally processed to give delicious berry flavours, with a light acidity and a chocolate, nutty finish!  

Secondly, Des Wichman is the Farmer-Producer and we have actually visited the farm. (Read about it here - it is a really cool story!) and it has been an amazing journey to travel with Des, since we first met him at Creative Coffee Week in 2018!

Thirdly, it is processed as a  “yellow honey” coffee, which is an exciting mashup between “natural” and  “washed” process, which Des explains later in this article.

But first..let me tell you how I brewed and enjoyed this coffee!

Because of the Yellow Honey sticker on the bag, I decided to enjoy it in my garden, on a beautiful autumn morning, with the honey bees buzzing around, doing their busy work for Mother Nature.

The beans have been perfectly roasted, with a nice even development as a gentle medium roast. The dry fragrance of the beans when I opened the bag and ground the coffee was tantalising and promised chocolate and nuts!

Reading the flavour descriptors, I thought I’d try it as espresso and a single shot cappuccino…and see where the coffee takes me.

The espresso was simply delicious - mild cacao nibs and nutty elements, medium sweetness and low bitterness with a perfect medium body.  It was sensational!

The cappuccino was also really enjoyable, but a little too milky for this subtle and elegant coffee. So I dialled back on the milk and tried it as a cortado, which was absolutely the perfect! I think a Flat White (a double ristretto with steamed milk and very little foam) would have worked just as well.

Ok, now back to the “Yellow Honey”… I asked Des to explain what this means and how they do it on the farm and this is what he said: “The yellow honey process is when we pulp it, we pulp it with water into our container, and from there it gets put straight out onto the drying beds, so you’ll see the “honey glaze” that we try create so that those sugars get absorbed into the green beans as it’s drying. From there we wait till it gets to the right moisture content of around 10-12% and that gives the coffee a few extra sugars and flavours"

The yellow honey "glaze" on the beans. Image ©Des Wichman.

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