Our Exclusive Coffees - What Makes These Beans So Special?
You might have noticed a few coffee varieties in our range that are a bit on the higher end of the price range, making you wonder what it is about these particular beans that justifies the price tag.
While it’s true that we sell a small number of varieties that are higher in value than our average prices, this is for some very good reasons! Our Kona Hawaii, Jamaica Blue Mountain, Australian Skybury and Kopi Luwak are all what we consider to be exclusive coffees of exceptional quality.
These highly revered beans are much sought-after and renowned for their wonderfully unique flavours and irresistible aromas, creating coffees that will leave a lasting impression on any coffee-lover.
There are several factors that can contribute to a coffee being seen as luxury or exclusive: location is very important, particularly regions that offer very specific and beneficial growing conditions for particular beans; process, such as unique methods for growing and harvesting beans; and quite simply the rarity of a bean variety.
Our Exclusive Coffees
This luxuriously smooth and pleasingly mild coffee is sourced from a family operated plantation in the small town of Captain Cook, situated on the volcanic slopes of Mauna Loa. The plantation, established in 1997, offers the ideal elevation of 2,500 ft. for our Kona Hawaii to grow, where the beans benefit from a microclimate of sun-drenched mornings, cloud covered afternoons, mild nights and abundant rainfall that lets them mature slowly to a large size and a superb grade.
Such is the perfection of this location that Kona coffees are largely considered one of the finest speciality coffees in the world, and it is only coffee that has been grown in the mineral-rich Kona Districts that can be ascribed with the coveted name.
Grown at altitudes of 900-2350 metres, Jamaican coffee plants thrive in the mountainous conditions of the majestic Blue Mountains, some of the highest peaks in the Caribbean. In this environment, nitrogen and phosphorus-rich volcanic soils, high rainfall, optimum drainage and the protective shading and cooler temperatures of the island’s misty cloud coverage, all combine to produce a clean, subtle and nutty brew with a beautiful balance of aroma and a smooth acidity.
To be classified as Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee, beans must be grown above 900 metres in the protected plantations of Saint Thomas, Saint Andrew, Saint Mary and Portland.
The Skybury Tropical Plantation, where this coffee is grown, is Australia's oldest producing plantation and the country's largest coffee exporter. The award-winning plantation is located near Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands, a lush plateau situated in the highlands above Cairns, Queensland, and is treated to mild winters and warm summers, which make for excellent conditions for growing high quality beans. The coffee harvest, which usually runs through June and July, benefits from cool seasonal mornings that assist the maturing process, and the advanced Skybury plantation methods enable coffee to be processed in as little as one hour, from the field to its dry form.
The characteristics of this gourmet coffee are of subtle toasty flavours of pistachios and almonds, with a delicious chocolatey sweetness, due in part to the small amount of mucilage left on the beans that caramelises when they are roasted.
There are two main reasons why civet coffee is more expensive than regular coffee - its process and its signature taste.
Regarding the process, respectable coffee producers such as Coffee Direct will only source beans from civets living in natural conditions. That means foraging for the semi-digested beans is a laborious task that takes much longer than simply picking berries from a plant. Beans are harder to find, and farmers spend much of their time tracking down the movement of wild civets.
Then there is the subject of the taste of Kopi Luwak, which many consider to be the most superior in the world. A number of factors contribute to this extraordinary taste. Firstly, the civet picks the tastiest, sweetest wild coffee berries, ensuring farmers always collect the very best coffee beans. By eating the berries, gastric juices and enzymes from the civet’s digestive tract also create shorter peptides in the beans and free its amino acids. This means that when roasted, these coffee beans can produce a smoother, non-bitter and less acidic drink.