Myanmar Pa-O / Black Honey
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Country/Region: Myanmar/Shan State
Varietal: S795, SL34, Caturra, & Catuai
Processing: Black Honey
Elevation: 1400 -1500 m.a.s.l.
Taste Notes: White Grapes, Cane Sugar, Nougat
Recommended Brew Methods: Filter
The Pa-O tribe is one of the ethnic tribes of the Shan State in Myanmar. Legend has it that the people of Pa-O are descendants of a dragon and an alchemist named Zawgyi. Traditionally isolated from the outside world, they have their own language and traditions, like many other tribes in Myanmar.
In recent years, Behind The Leaf Coffee was started to educate the Pa-O tribe on growing and processing specialty coffee. All these helped to improve the tribe's standard of living, allowing them to earn a fair wage. During the harvest season, coffee cherries are picked and processed on the same day to ensure freshness. Their drive for quality has seen their coffee receiving a cup score between 85-87 points in recent competitions.
In honey-processed coffees, coffee cherries are first depulped and left to dry with some mucilage on. This mucilage is a sticky layer that coats the coffee seed, typically yellow in color, hence the term "honey". The amount of mucilage determines how much fermentation occurs, in turn giving the cup more sweetness and body, along with fruit-forward flavors. With varying amounts of mucilage and drying times, the coffee may be termed differently, ranging from white honey, to yellow, gold, red, and black honey.
The darker the honey, the more work is required to prevent over-fermentation or mold. Therefore, a black-honey coffee is the most labor-intensive and in certain cases, the more expensive types of honey-process. In this case, the Pa-O Black Honey was processed meticulously, resulting in a clean cup without over-ferment notes.