I recently had the opportunity to sample some Thailand Phu Tub Berk. Being from my favorite origin area (India and friends) as soon as I saw this was “Afloat” (meaning that it had not reached the United States Importer but, was up for grabs) I jumped on it. Coffees from this area have a distinct creaminess and spiced notes. The further east you go, heading into Myanmar (Burma) and just beyond, you start getting more cocoa, earthy tones. Thailand, being located just south of Myanmar, gave me high hopes for a great cup of coffee with a great earthiness and spiced cocoa notes.
After test roasting this, I was left unimpressed. Dark roasting was way to bold and bitter on the edge of ashy. The light roast was grossly thin and so bright, it was like drinking a lemonade spiked with coffee (and not in a good way!). The medium roast had promise but, not enough to get me really excited to try roasting the last of my sample but, after lunch I found myself wondering about slowing the roast way down and bringing it into a medium roast like an arthritic tortoise rushing to a root canal.
The result from running this as a slower roasted medium roast was as follows;
The first thing I noticed was the creamy, thick body and the fullness of the mouthfeel. Immediately after that, it showed off with dry cocoa finish that coats the tongue in a pleasant manner. As you get deeper into the cup you pick up a natural sweetness combined with a savory tone like a dried apricot. The spice is not as strong with this coffee as I had hoped but, it is there, just very faint. I am considering roasting a regional blend if I purchase a bag of this.
The problem I run into with this coffee is this: I want to order a full bag simply because, who in my area is roasting Thailand!? This comes from a coffee region I have never had any problems with my customers enjoying and again, THAILAND! The name alone is going to garner some interest with my friendly neighborhood coffee snobs.
This is a really good cup of coffee. Is it great? No. I cannot say it is. Do I want to offer anything less than greatness to my customers? I do with regularity simply because there are coffees that my customers really enjoy that I just don’t enjoy as much as they do. Coffee tastes vary just as much as tasting notes from origins around Lake Kivu! Are there going to be a good number of people who love this coffee? Yes, and Tonya is one of them. Am I justifying purchasing a bag of coffee that I really don’t need but really want due to the childlike wonder I experience with any unique coffee? You bet your ass I am! That doesn’t mean I would be wrong to order a bag, I just need a few outside opinions.
So with that, I am going to hit the road and see what opinions I can find from my trusted coffee circle.
Put on some music, brew some coffee and handle your business!