You must have heard of Arabica & Robusta coffee, but have you heard of Liberica coffee? We went for a farm & roastery visit to My Liberica in Kulai, Johor. Here's everything you want to know about Liberica coffee 🇲🇾
What is Liberica Coffee?
Liberica is like cousins to Arabica and Robusta. A minority and less known in the coffee world. It has less than 1% of global coffee production.
Yes, you can call it a rare coffee species. And yes, it's pretty close to extinction. Thankfully, we have Liberica coffee growing here in Malaysia! 🙌🏻
Big coffee tree, huge leaves & giant coffee seeds (some called it Elephant beans). Liberica coffee tree is a much stronger plant than arabica coffee, very resistant to diseases & able to plant in low altitude.
It's said that Liberica coffee was brought by British 500 years ago. To date, the majority of coffee plantation in Malaysia are mostly Liberica, whereas Arabica and Robusta are the minority here.
My Liberica coffee plantation located in Kulaijaya, Johor. It's one of very few Liberica coffee farm in the world that produces high quality specialty grade Liberica coffee.
Jason's father started cultivating Liberica coffee 20 plus years ago. Initially, they planted lime & other crops. But due to serious thieves issues, he couldn't harvest any crops & hence decided to plant coffee instead (good luck thieves 😂)
Pour Liberica cherries on sorter & separate into sizes.
As Jason graduated from studies abroad, he came back and started his journey in the Liberica coffee business. Today, the Liew family takes full control of coffee plantation, processing & roasting, also a number of cafes in Johor & Kuala Lumpur serving Liberica coffee.
As you can see from Roaster Series, there are a couple of main processing methods like washed, honey & natural processed. Not to mention, they have innovative new processing like carbonic maceration & lime processed too.
Depulped & ready for sun dry.
Liberica coffee is definitely one of the sweetest coffee on earth 🌏 Absolutely flavourful, thick jammy juiciness and super duper intense sweetness, way sweeter than most arabica & robusta!
We had a shock when we took the first sip of Liberica (as seen in the video of cupping), the intensity of sweetness is absolutely mind blowing. Also, Jason made some adjustments on roasting profile, they all taste better than ever!
My Liberica plantation is on flat land, the Liberica coffee has lower density as compared to Arabica coffee. As such, it’s easier to extract Liberica coffee than Arabica coffee, hence you'll need some small adjustments to brew the sweetest cup.
Here are some adjustment on brewing recipe to avoid over extraction
1. Coarser grind size, at least 1-2 steps coarser than usual setting
2. Shorter brew time, about 1.30 - 2 minutes
3. Higher brew ratio, we found the sweet spot with 8g coffee to every 100ml water. 16g coffee to 200ml water is the standard ratio in My Liberica
4. For medium roast, 93ºc is the best brewing temperature. Dark roast, 88ºc is the sweet spot!
5. For pour over, pour gently to keep turbulence minimal
There you’ll get a super intense honey sweetness in the cup. If coffee tastes astringent or bitter (over extracted), a coarser grind makes the coffee taste much sweeter!
As Malaysians, kao Kopi is in our blood. The Liberica Classic makes a premium tasting Kopi. Clean, substantial and memang Kao, definitely our most favourite dark roast coffee.
The high level sweetness of Liberica coffee makes it the best coffee for dark roast. My Liberica brews the Liberica Classic with a syphon, every sip is a such bliss 😍
Also, it reminds us of the kopi we had in childhood 20 years ago. If you grow up with Kopi, you'll love this for sure.
The real fact about Liberica coffee is that, Liberica coffee may disappear in Malaysia in the future.
Through our interview with Jason, we got to know that there are no new Liberica coffee farms & all existing farmers are 60-70 years old uncles aunties. Not to mention, coffee plantation & processing is a really tough business.
The economics of traditional processing is not able to create sustainability for farmers, low coffee price drives farmers to cut down the coffee tree & switch to other cash crops in order to survive.
The only way out is to produce high quality specialty grade Liberica coffee in order to sell at a premium so that farmers are able to survive & sustain their livelihood. Sadly, this is the only way for Liberica coffee to exist in this world.
Lastly, we want to thank Jason & his team in My Liberica for producing such amazing coffees & keeping this Liberica coffee alive. We support our local coffee producer!
Check out all My Liberica coffee here https://beanshipper.com/my.liberica
A coffee story about Jason Liew, a coffee producer & roaster of My Liberica.