Coffee Tasting: Origin Coffee; Banka

A beautifully intense fruity coffee with good body and a surprising earthy note. Definitely a worthwhile stop on the journey into the emerging world of speciality coffees from China.

A deep earthy opening with the intense stewed fruit notes developing as the temperature drops. A solid balance between the mild fruit coffees and a well rounded long drink. One to take a little time over and appreciate the depth. Definitely something different and a fascinating arrival from China.

In More Depth

Origin: China: Yunnan

Varietal: Catimor

Growing Altitude: 1,350 MASL

Process: Honey

Tasting Notes: Stewed Berries, Peach and Red plum.

The Coffee

Coffee from China was a new horizon for me, I have been looking forward to tasting some of the speciality coffee coming out of this huge nation, famed for its tea and yet so well positioned for coffee growth. For those not in the know, China has been waiting in the wings when it comes to speciality coffee for quite some time now. The country has a great deal of potential for growing, a potential which has been largely overlooked as growers focused more on commodity grade coffees, trusting to resilient varietals and tried and true farming methods. The change to more sustainable speciality quality coffee growth was always going to be a tough one, but the possible results held real potential.

When I brewed up I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect, as Chinese coffee production has been primarily robusta and commercial grade coffee, so its never really been on my tasting radar. I’ll admit that as a taster I do fall into the comfortable habit of expecting certain profiles and getting used to flavours from regions (though that is becoming a much less viable habit nowadays, something I will doubtless discuss in a future article). The initial notes suggested to me a rather fruity coffee, often a winner in my book, but as the grounds bloomed in the V60 the aroma suggested something much more earthy, with the fruit detectable but subtle. On my first sip I was certainly surprised, the initial impression is earthy with a hint of fruit, almost sour in fact, the coffee runs cleanly over the palette and as the liquid cools there is a rush of fruit intensity, almost like a whole new coffee developing in your mouth.

After years of tasting I am not often surprised enough by a coffee that I feel the need to re taste a great deal, but in this case I confess I spent the better part of an afternoon playing around with the flavours and ratio on my V60. The result was that I find I use a slightly higher then usual ratio to brew for what I feel is the best of this one. I wont get into the details too much (that’s another article in itself) but as a general rule I brew V60 with 15g of grounds to around 350g of water, a pretty solid bet in my experience. This particular coffee though settles for me at around 18/350 as the change in weight and body develops the flavours perfectly and lengthens the finish to get the best of the backnotes.

On the whole this is a beautifully complex coffee, while it holds its own as a simple drink it really sings when you take the time to appreciate it. The balance of flavours and the burst of fruit over earthy tones may divide opinion, but I for one have savoured the experience.

The Roaster

Origin Coffee based in Cornwall have a well established and deserved reputation in the industry for providing carefully sourced coffees with a real focus on the connection to, and well being of everyone along the chain. Origin’s direct trade methodology and commitment to paying over Fairtrade prices create strong and sustainable relationships with their growers. A great foundation for a coffee roaster, one that I am delighted is so prevalent among the speciality coffee roasters of the UK. Origin are entirely open about the passion that they attempt to pour into every roast and honest about the degree of precision and dedication involved. I have to say tasting this offering, that I suspect getting the measure of this rather interesting bean will have taxed all that passion and precision, but the result is more than worth every moment.


Roaster: Origin


Coffee: Sourced through Rae & Webb


About Bear Essentials CoffeeIf you have enjoyed this or any of my writing please check out my Homepage to find out more about me and my work. Follow the blog and if you feel you can, drop a donation to support this project. Thanks, – Bear

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