This week, we're shining a spotlight on one of our favorite coffees, Organic Dragon, and the striking creatures it’s named after.
Grown on the Indonesian island of Flores, the green beans are processed using a wet-hulled process, similar to the Mandheling process used in Sumatra. The resulting coffee is full-bodied and robust with a smooth, silky mouthfeel and sweet flavor that reminds us of dark chocolate and barley malt, with toasted caramel richness and a hint of peppery, sweet spice. We like it best at a medium to medium-dark roast level (Full City or Vienna), but the beans also take darker roast levels extremely well. We would love Organic Dragon based on its flavor alone, but we might not have tried it if it wasn't for its bag.
We know better. You can't tell the quality of green coffee beans by the burlap bag used to ship them. Some of our favorite coffees come in very boring bags. Some very boring coffees come in lovely bags. Still, when a coffee bag features a large Komodo dragon, it's hard not to ask for information about what's inside. Here's what we learned:
Komodo dragons live wild on four Indonesian islands, Komodo, Rinca, Gili Motang and Flores. According to our importer, Komodo dragons occasionally prowl between the coffee bushes on Flores, perhaps to enjoy the shade they grown under. Though Komodos eat mostly carrion, young Komodos also eat insects and small mammals, which helps protect the coffee bushes from pests. Larger Komodos hunt mostly larger mammals like wild boar, goats and deer, which also could harm the coffee bushes. We were so tickled by the notion of a coffee protected by dragons, we asked for a sample. Once we tasted it, we knew we had to share this coffee with you.
Here are some more things we learned about Komodo Dragons:
Komodo dragons are the world's largest lizard and can grow up to 10 ft long and weigh up to 150 lbs.
They are shy, and usually hide from people. There are, however, documented incidents of Komodo dragons biting people when approached. Most of those people recovered, but some of them died.
Komodo dragons drool red, because of blood in their saliva.
Unlike most other reptiles, Komodo dragons sometimes hunt in groups. Once the Komodos kill their prey, the larger dragons eat first and the smaller ones eat later.
The blood plasma of Komodo dragons contains a powerful antibacterial peptide. Researchers have synthesized a short version of this peptide and tested it. Apparently, it kills many drug-resistant bacterial strains and some fungi, as well. It's been shown to help infected wounds heal.
Female Komodo dragons don't need male Komodos to reproduce. Several zoos have recorded cases of female Komodos who had never been exposed to a male of her species laying eggs and hatching viable offspring, all of them male.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUNC) listed the Komodo dragon as a vulnerable species. They are protected under Indonesian law and Indonesia formed Komodo Natural Park to help the protection efforts.
What do you know about Komodo dragons? Have you ever seen one, in a zoo or on an Indonesian island? Have you tried Organic Dragon coffee? Please share your thoughts on the Facebook thread or in a comment on this blog. Or, if you'd like to share your opinion with the wider world, leave us a coffee review on Google or on your favorite review site. Not only do we value your opinions, but reviews help more people find us. Help us connect coffee lovers to fresh, quality coffee!
~ Carrie, Paul and all of us at Coffee by the Roast