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Ethiopia

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Ethiopia DP Sidama Aleta Wondo

This coffee is from the Aleta Wondo woreda (a county, essentially) in Sidama region. We don't know a lot about the spefics of this dry-processed coffee because it passed through the vortex of the official Ethiopia Coffee Exchange, which strips a coffee of exact producer information. It replaces specific cooperative or mill information with a type. But we believe this is a Shilcho coffee from Dale woreda that also classifies as Aleta Wondo since they are contiguous. In any case, we had to buy it when we cupped it; it is a perfect example of a heavily fruited, very sweet dry-processed Ethiopia coffee that does not "cross the line" into fruity-fermenty notes.

While there is a little uncertainty about the origin of this lot, there is no uncertainty about the cup; it is wonderful. The dry fragrance has very intense fruit character; dried mango and peach in the light roasts with a heavy overlay of chocolate as you approach Full City+ levels. Adding the hot water the wet aromatics are a veritable fruit potpourri; hibiscus, orange peel, rose hips, dried apricot. The cup has the sweetness of a tropical fruit salad. Peach and apricot dominate, with mango, passionfruit, guava and orange in the mix. At City+ roast the fruited notes are so sweet and intense. As you roast darker, an overlay of chocolate and caramelized sugars comes into play. The nature of the dry-process technique means a few under-ripe fruits usually sneak past the pickers, showing up as "quakers" in the roast. There are much fewer of them in this dry-processed coffee than the multitude of samples I have cupped this year, but you can remove some of them and improve the cup a bit. It's always instructive to brew a cup of them, to learn the distinct peanut note they give to the cup, and astringent mouthfeel. (Note that this coffee is not from the Aleta Wondo project at commonriver.org, a nice organization in the same area!).





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Whole, fresh coffee cherry on raised beds to create dry process coffee.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 3
Region: Aleta Wondo area, Sidama region, Oromia
Processing: Dry Process
Arrival Date: August 2011 Arrival GrainPro Bag
Appearance: .6 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen
Varietal: Local Sidamo heirloom cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Heavy fruited notes, syrupy thick body
Roast: City+ to Full City+. The fruited flavors are at their zenith in the lighter end of this range, as chocolate roast tones take over at the Full City level and darker
Compare to: Classic dry-process Ethiopia character, with tons of fruit and great body, with no off musty or fermented notes.
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Ethiopia Limu Borka Gudina

Basic source information: The farm is located in the Djimma Zone and Limu, Borka Gudina area. Their coffee grows at 1600-1800 metres.

I roasted samples of the Limu Borka Gudina darker than usual because my cupping of early samples tells me this is a body-oriented coffee, not one of these delicate and floral wet-process Ethiopias. The dry fragrance at FC roast has a malt chocolate sweetness, as well as toasted almonds. The wet aroma is quite roasty and pungent. The cup is all about chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate. It seems to be layered with different cocoa qualities that change as the coffee passes across the palate and as the cup cools. But there is also lemon and melon fruit flavors lurking behind the chocolate alkaloids, and they come out more as the cup reaches mouth temperature. It's a fairly low acid coffee for an Ethiopia, less brightness that other Limu coffees. This coffee might be slightly under-whelming as a brewed cup. But Borka Gudina is fantastic for SO espresso. It makes a balanced shot (unlike other wet-process Ethiopias with more acidity). At FC+ roast the espresso has creamy mouthfeel, chocolate, and very subdued fruited hints.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

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Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Borka Gudina, Limu
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: June 2011 Arrival -GrainPro
Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Local Western Ethiopia Cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Nice body and mouthfeel, low acidity
Roast: Full City - Full City+
Compare to: Unlike other wet-processed Ethiopias, moderate acidity, balance. Ideal for espresso
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Ethiopia Harar Longberry

Harar is the wild cousin of Ethiopian coffee. It originates in the Hararghe district in Eastern Ethiopia, the area with the ancient city of Harar serving as symbolic capital and cultural center for the Harare people. Harar is alone in terms of geography, culture, and (sometimes) cup quality. Harar is a dry-processed coffee, the simple, rustic method where the ripe red coffee cherry is picked from the tree and laid in the sun to dry. It turns raisin-brown, then dries so the hard shell of fruit skin, mucilage and parchment shell can be torn from the green seed in one step. The result is wild cup flavors, fruited, chocolate, spice, and thick body. But since it is such a crude process, there is little mechanized intervention in terms of quality control: no machine screening, density sorting, electronic color sorting. Everything is done with the eye and the hand, as coffee is winnowed in baskets, under-ripes, broken beans, black beans, fermented beans, all removed visually in countless hours of work. It's even hulled out of its husk by hand, pounded in a wooden mortar rather than by machine. It's a human-sorting system that makes up in character what it lacks in perfection. So Harar is a bit of a crapshoot too. Each roast has some light "quaker" beans in it; each batch roasts a little different, cups out with different flavors. It's the nature of the type. But in recent years the quality has been uniformly bad, mostly due to changing weather patterns. But we felt this lot had some of the classic "Moka" character, chocolate roast tones laced with fruit.

This is a selection from the ECX auction, so we don't knwo the exact producer group. It is from East Harar, where they higher grown longberry coffee originates. The dry fragrance is fruited, with distinct dried mango and tamarind scents, and light cocoa powder notes as well. The wet aromatics are a bit winey-fruity, spicy, with fresh ginger and some clean earth hints. The cup flavors are classic Harar all the way. The light City to City+ roasts has peach tea, and lots of dry mango. It has good body, and finishes with a spicy-woody cinnamon note. There's always that slight rustic funk to the fruited qualities of Harar. At Full City the dried fruit and tropical note is more tame, with a chocolate roast taste ebbing in. The coffee may not look pretty at these lighter roasts, but it is more lively. I am encouraged by the evenness of the roast - very few quakers means very few under-ripe cherries, which improves the flavor and finish on the cup. There is bean-to-bean unevenness in roast color, hallmark of a natural coffee, but very few actual quakers.





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Sorting coffee in Dire Dawa. From my last trip to Harar region.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 4
Region: East Hararghe
Processing: Dry Process
Arrival Date: August 2011 Arrival GrainPro Bag
Appearance: 2.2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Longberry heirloom cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Dried fruit notes, body, rustic qualities
Roast: The sweet spot here is at Full City. The fruited notes are muted a bit at this roast stage. City+ has less body and balance, but higher-toned fruits. Remember, this is dry-processed natural Harar, so expect some unevenness in roast color, and 1-2 beans that "resist the roast" and should be culled out.
Compare to: A very nice dry-processed Harar cup, with solid fruited notes. It's a rustic cup, like Yemen, dry-processed and such. Works for fruity espresso blends.
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Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Dumerso Cooperative

Yirga Cheffe coffees are a renowned wet-processed type with delicate floral and fruit brightness in the cup. Yirga Cheffe seemed like quite a specific designation several years ago, but times are changing in the coffee world. As small buyers of micro-lots start to travel to coffee origins more, our ability to designate the source of our coffees becomes more specific. And now we have started to find, within the Yirga Cheffe area, special regions with particular cup character. We bought this coffee based on samples we cupped back in February; normally it would take 2 months to receive the lot, but the huge backup in milling in Ethiopia meant delays on many of the wet-process coffees. Dumerso is a cooperative not far from Yirga Cheffe town, part of the cooperative group YCFCU (Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union). Farmers who submit coffee to Dumerso are all small-holder family plots, with altitudes from 1750 to 2300 meters. I really liked the moderate brightness and heavily fruited nature of this coffee, and we were really happy when we finally received the lot after so much delay.

Dry grounds have a ripe fruit scent, melon and apricot in particular. It develops an intense chocolate fragrance at Full City roast. The wet aroma is also laden with sweet dark fruit, with a subtle winey quality, cantaloupe, lemon, honey. The cup has a moderate acidic snap when compared to other Yirga Cheffe coffees, a more tenor tone overall. The same ripe and slightly winey fruit quality persists in the cup, tucked nicely behind a semisweet chocolate roast taste that comes on even in the lighter City+ roast level. The cup is moderate in body, but has a rounded mouthfeel that makes it feel "big", and tangy bittersweets in the aftertaste. It has the quality in wine they call afternose, with sweet baked peaches emerging after the coffee has cleared the palate. This coffee works well in espresso, especially with 3-4 days of rest after roasting.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

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All smiles, near Dumerso in Yirga Cheffe from my last trip in 2011.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Yirga Cheffe
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: August 2011 Arrival GrainPro Bag
Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen
Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Ripe fruit, winey notes, chocolate bittersweets
Roast: City+ roast has chocolate notes you might expect from darker roasts. City+ is ideal for brewed coffee, FC to FC+ for espresso uses.
Compare to: A deeper, more tenor-toned Ethiopia, not screaming bright as some are.
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Ethiopia Dry Process Bench Maji Biftu

Bench Maji is a zone in the SNNPR (Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region) state of Ethiopia. The region borders Sudan in the west, and the Gambela region, famous for wildlife and massive termite mounds (!). This coffee is from a farm called Gesha Estate and not far from the town of Biftu and Gesha. This is the location where the famous coffee seed of the same name was collected for the ICO gardens, which eventually made it to Costa Rica and then Panama, but whether the original coffee here cups like the Gesha of Central America is debatable. I would say no. And in this case, as a natural dry-process coffee, certainly no. But what we have is a well-processed natural with classic, fruity flavors of this type of coffee.

Yes, this is quite a fruit bomb. The ground coffee has cantaloupe melon, peach pie, and pulpy papaya fruit scent. Add hot water and the wet aroma adds to all these fruits a floral-herbal scent, rustic, raw honey, and mild earthy notes. It's not a subtle coffee. The cup has a dense body, mild brightness, and loads of fruit, fresh fruit, dried fruit, cooked fruit, tropical fruit ... you name it and you and find it here. For me, stewed peaches are the prime flavor in the City+ roast, while apricot, melon, and mango enter the picture as the cup cools. There is not musty or vinegary fruit notes, as found in poorly processed DP coffees. As it cools, the body gets more dense and milky. Full City+ roasts have an intense chocolate-cocoa nib roast taste, as fruit sweetness becomes more secondary. It's not a coffee I want to drink 7 days a week, but definitely something to enjoy in stark contrast to clean and subtle wet-processed coffees. It also makes a very interesting Mokha Java type blend 50-50 with a wet-hulled Sumatra coffee.





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Dry process "pods" on raised beds, Ethiopia
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 3
Region: Biftu-Gesha, Bench Maji
Processing: Dry-Process
Arrival Date: June 2011 Arrival -GrainPro
Appearance: 1.2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Typica and Gesha
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Strong fruit character, good sweetness and body.
Roast: City+ has tons of sweet fruit and caramel, and is best at 48+ hours rest. Full City and Full City+ add a layer of chocolate, and are recommended as well
Compare to: A highly fruited dry-processed Ethiopia.
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Ethiopia Moplaco Yirga Cheffe

Yirga Cheffe coffees are a renowned wet-processed type with delicate floral and fruit brightness in the cup. Yirga Cheffe seemed like quite a specific designation several years ago, but times are changing in the coffee world. As small buyers of micro-lots start to travel to coffee origins more, our ability to designate the source of our coffees becomes more specific. And now we have started to find, within the Yirga Cheffe area, special regions with particular cup character. Interestingly, this lot does not represent that type of coffee; it's an old school pooled Yirga Cheffe by Moplaco Export, one that passed through the new Ethiopia Coffee Exchange (ECX) so that we aren't sure of it's exact origin within the Yirga Cheffe region. However, I thought it was a really, really nice coffee upon cupping it! The fact the ECX has become more of an obstacle than an aid is true, but there are exceptions. After all, really nice lots still exist and go to the exchange, and while we don't know the exact Coop or Private mill it comes from, it's still the same coffee. It just takes a lot of cupping to find them.

Dry grounds have a distinct ripe orange scent, with floral and honey sweet scents. The wet aromatics are fantastic; honeysuckle blossom, sugar cane, orange and even a zest of crushed spearmint. The cup has a soft, full mouthfeel, and ample sweetness. It's a surprisingly silky body for a Yirga Cheffe, which can sometimes be a little thin in other lots. Apricot and peach notes emerge, sweet stone fruits, along with the honey and floral notes found in the aromatics. As it cools, robust jasmine notes come to the foreground, along with sweetened apricot tea. It's a remarkable, aromatic coffee with complex estery high notes, not a powerhouse but a cup that opens up to you as it cools. I tested 3 roasts at different levels from City+ to Full City+. You definitely loose some of the subtle fruit and floral aspects at FC+ but it is still quite a sweet cup, with a note of Rue herb and caramel and chocolate cookie sweetness. Every roast was extremely good, so the coffee performs well under a wide range of roasts. It also does incredibly well as an aromatic component in espresso.





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Washing coffee in the channel, in Yirga Cheffe.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Yirga Cheffe
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: June 2011 Arrival -GrainPro
Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen
Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Sweet fruit and flowers, silky body
Roast: City to City+ roast. Yirgs roasted too dark are just a crying shame.
Compare to: A super aromatic, sweet wet-processed Ethiopia with refined flavors.
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Ethiopia Organic Guji Suke Quto

Suke Quto is a producer group in the southern Guji zone of Shakiso. The people are known as Gujii Oromo, and coffee farming has been a core part of the culture in the highland areas. It's a distinct coffee from Yirga Cheffe, and Sidamo. Geographically, culturally and in terms of cup flavors, these southern coffees have a different flavor profile, while maintaining the same general characteristics; citrus and floral accents, a lively cup character. While dry-process Guji lots, which are more widely available, tend to have a generic fruity flavor found also in dry-process Sidamos (or dry-process coffees from nearly anywhere in Ethiopia), it is the transparency of the wet-process that reveals the distinctiveness of these regional lots. Add to this the fact that cultivars used in Ethiopia are largely regional, distinct local strains of coffees as they spread from the wild forest plants of western Ethiopia, to Harar in the East and the southern districts like Guji. Late last year I visited the Suke Quto group. Because they own farm land and process their own coffee, they have license to export, and we could form this direct trade link with them.

This is a very unique flavor profile. From the dry grounds, jasmine-violet floral scents are clear, as well as ginger, malt sugars and honey. My lightest roasts have a graham cracker wet aroma (nice, but perhaps a bit too light on the roast there). City+ level has even more violet blossoms, more honey sweetness, maple syrup on pancakes, and sweet spice notes of ginger, and herbs. Those floral jasmine tea notes and spice accent are so clear in the cup. Along with a bracing lemony acidity, they provide the high toned piquant character for this coffee, particularly in the lighter roast levels. The first time I cupped the arrival sample, my taste impression coalesced under one term; "Gingerbread." It perfectly described the spicy sweetness, underpinned by honey and caramelized sugar. While the cup has a distinct sweetness, it is restrained, not a full, round sweetness. In fact it seems moderated by bergamot citrus, as with the slightly bracing, tannin tea-like notes of Earl Grey. The body is fairly light and increases as the cup cools, with a waxy mouthfeel and a suggestion of walnut oil. It's a very aromatic, delicate and distinct cup. It's not a powerful or aggressive coffee.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

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Harvesting coffee for Suke Quto producers, Shakiso, Guji zone.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Suke Quto, Guji Zone, Oromiya Woreda
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: July 2011 Arrival GrainPro
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Local Ethiopia cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Clear and clean fruit, refined sweetness
Roast: City to City+ captures the qualities I describe, floral notes, spice accent, citrus. For espresso we take it to a Full City and allow no 2nd crack to occur.
Compare to: Clean, sweet, bright flavor profile, but with body as well. Not a super citric coffee, which makes it very useful as an espresso blend aroma component.
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Ethiopia Gr. 3 Dry Process Yirga Cheffe

Dry Process Yirga Cheffe is a rather new coffee. What you have bought from us in the past is Bagersh Misty Valley dry-processed coffee from the Gedio zone, and Adado Yirga Cheffe. With the new ECX coffee exchange rules for Ethiopia coffee exports, all lots (with an exception for FTO cooperative coffees) are made anonymous when they enter the Government warehouse. That means we do not know exactly which cooperative or mill this lot is from. We know it is a Yirga Cheffe, a Grade 3 (which means little - see my notes on the grading system), and nobody needs to tell us it is a dry-process. One look at the coffee, one sniff of the fragrance when grinding, and you WILL know. While making lots anonymous has been a setback it doesn't mean these coffees can't still be very ncie. The great coffees are still there, we just know less about them. I would hazard a guess here that this is a Gedio zone lot, which is the best area to do natural (dry-process) coffee in Yirga Cheffe, and that it might be from Adado district as well. As you know, the tradition in Yirga-cheffe. is wet-processing, whereas Harar has a dry-processing tradition. Wet-processing is the method used in Central America and the like, resulting in a green seed with a cleaner cup profile, and less earthy or rustic cup flavors. Dry-processing involves drying the entire coffee cherry in the sun, and later removing the skin, fruity mucilage layer and protective parchment shell that surrounds the green seed ... all in one fell swoop. Excellent dry-processed coffees are difficult because the milling method for wet-processing allows for separation of ripe and unripe coffee cherry (and other defective seeds) using water and machines. But in dry-processing, sorting you under-ripes is done visually, either by sorting the ripe cherry, or later, sorting the "green" bean. There are some under-ripes in this coffee, resulting in quakers in the final roast. But the cup is so sweet, with this big fruity character, I felt in the last analysis it is greater than it's imperfections. They can easily be removed after roasting.

The dry fragrance is heavily fruited, with intense dried fruit notes, strawberry, mango, and apricot jam scents. The wet aroma is sweet like syrup, very fruity, like sticky apricot-berry fruit roll-ups, and saturated with rustic raw honey. It has peach-mango in the lighter roasts, and more berry-like fruit at Full City roast. The cup is fantastically fruited. Light roasts have apricot preserves, dried strawberry, melon, mango, red licorice, and anise. A bit darker on the roast and the fruits are more berry-like with milk chocolate, and many of the lighter roast flavors are still present to some extent. It has a milky body, not heavy, but certainly not thin. I don't know if I want every cup of coffee I drink to taste like this, but it certainly is an impressive and exotic flavor profile, sure to provide some flavor diversity for your palate.





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Fresh cherry on the drying beds, to make dry-process coffee. Adado, Yirga Cheffe
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 3
Region: Yirga Cheffe
Processing: Dry-Processed
Arrival Date: June 2011 Arrival -GrainPro
Appearance: 1.2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Longberry and shortberry Ethiopia cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Intense fruit, syrupy sweetness, medium body.
Roast: City roast to Full City and beyond. We tested the light roasts mostly, but the darker levels will produce chocolate-dipped fruit notes.
Compare to: A fantastically fruited dry-processed Ethiopia. I recommend doing some hand-sorting to remove the light "quaker" beans after roasting. Probably 2-3 per small batch, according to my roasts.
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Ethiopia Harar Longberry

Harar is the wild cousin of Ethiopian coffee. It originates in the Hararghe district in Eastern Ethiopia, the area with the ancient city of Harar serving as symbolic capital and cultural center for the Harare people. Harar is alone in terms of geography, culture, and (sometimes) cup quality. Harar is a dry-processed coffee, the simple, rustic method where the ripe red coffee cherry is picked from the tree and laid in the sun to dry. It turns raisin-brown, then dries so the hard shell of fruit skin, mucilage and parchment shell can be torn from the green seed in one step. The result is wild cup flavors, fruited, chocolate, spice, and thick body. But since it is such a crude process, there is little mechanized intervention in terms of quality control: no machine screening, density sorting, electronic color sorting. Everything is done with the eye and the hand, as coffee is winnowed in baskets, under-ripes, broken beans, black beans, fermented beans, all removed visually in countless hours of work. It's even hulled out of its husk by hand, pounded in a wooden mortar rather than by machine. It's a human-sorting system that makes up in character what it lacks in perfection. So Harar is a bit of a crapshoot too. Each roast has some light "quaker" beans in it; each batch roasts a little different, cups out with different flavors. It's the nature of the type. But in recent years the quality has been uniformly bad, mostly due to changing weather patterns. But we felt this lot had some of the classic "Moka" character, chocolate roast tones laced with fruit.

The dry fragrance is fruited, with distinct dried apricot, mango and tamarind scents, and light cocoa powder notes as well. The wet aromatics are a bit winey, spicy, with fresh ginger, and a bit of cinnamon stick in the FC roast range. The cup flavors are classic Harar all the way. The light City to City+ roasts has apricot tea, dried peach and mango and orange marmalade. There is some quality similar to the tropical fruit hops of certain IPA ales. It has good body, and finishes with a spicy-woody cinnamon note. There's always that slight rustic funk to the fruited qualities of Harar. At Full City the marmalade and tropical fruit is more tame, with a chocolate roast tone ebbing in. The coffee may not look pretty at these lighter roasts, but it is more lively. I am encouraged by the evenness of the roast - very few quakers means very few under-ripe cherries, which improves the flavor and finish on the cup. There is bean-to-bean unevenness in roast color, hallmark of a natural coffee, but very few actual quakers.





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Even in Harar, your brother can embarass you. From my last trip to Harar region.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 4
Region: Hararghe
Processing: Dry Process
Arrival Date: May 2011 Arrival
Appearance: 2.2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Longberry heirloom cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Sweet dried fruit notes, body, rustic qualities
Roast: The sweet spot here is at Full City. The fruited notes are muted a bit at this roast stage, but they behave a nice jammy sweetness. City+ has less body and balance, but higher-toned fruits. Remember, this is dry-processed natural Harar, so expect some unevenness in roast color, and 1-2 beans that "resist the roast" and should be culled out.
Compare to: A very nice dry-processed Harar cup, with solid fruited sweet notes. It's a rustic cup, a la Yemen dry-processed and such. Works for fruity espresso blends.
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Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe

With the new ECX (Ethiopia Coffee Exchange) rules imposed now on Ethiopia coffee exports, all lots (with an exception for FTO cooperative coffees) are made anonymous when they enter the Government warehouse. This means when we find a great coffee via importers and not direct sourcing (which we are still doing in Ethiopia), we do not know exactly which cooperative or mill this lot is from. This coffee jumped out at me on a cupping table, but I do not know much about its origins. We know it is a Yirga Cheffe, a Grade 2 (which means very good preparation but can be ambiguous - see my notes on the grading system), and nobody needs to tell us it is a wet-process coffee. While making lots anonymous has been a setback for us, it doesn't mean great lots suddenly disappeared. The great coffees are still there; we just know less about them. And we still are working direct with our other sources, in fact more so than ever.

As I mentioned, this lot came in as a standard sample offer but jumped out on the cupping table immediately. The dry grounds have a very sweet citrus and floral-laced quality, with a tenadam (rue) and a hint of fresh dill. The wet aroma has a unique blend of ginger and cinnamon, as well as the tenadam sweet herbal note I mentioned already, along with caramelized sugar. The cup is sweet and somewhat herbal, with fresh dill and lime, with honey-like sweetness. I get some butterscotch notes from the slightly darker roast level (FC-FC+) but much of the floral scent is gone; I really like this coffee at the lighter end of the roast range. The cup has cane sugar sweetness, and when it cools completely the cup is still so sweet and dynamic, with more honey and sweet herb flavors. The body is medium, with a nice syrupy mouthfeel. The finish has a slight tightness to it.





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Happy family billboard, from Yirga Cheffe earlier this year.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Yirga Cheffe
Processing: Wet-Process
Arrival Date: May 2011 Arrival
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Local Shortberry Ethiopia types
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Bright and lovely cup, sweet herbs, spicy cup
Roast: City roast to Full City. City to City+ is the best, brightest, sweetest cup.
Compare to: Classic Yirga Cheffe wet-processed character, with the added herb and spice bonus
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Ethiopia Wet-Process Jimma -Duromina Coop

This coffee from Duromina Cooperative is part of a new initiative we have in Ethiopia to work direct at the coop level. The program is administered by a non-government organization that not only coordinates agronomists and managers for each of the coops they work with, but also has a business advisor assigned that helps the cooperative manage their debt, re-invest in quality improvements at the mill, and verifies distribution of income to all members. This is a key position, and why I chose the picture of Ketemaye, the business advisor for Duromina, as the image for this coffee. A cooperative can make all kinds of quality improvements, turn out fantastic coffee, and sink deeper in debt all the while. Cooperatives often fail to return a fair and full amount of payment to their farmer-members. Often this is from poor management, and sometimes from graft as well. (Interestingly, Duromina means "make yourself wealthy" in the local Oromifa language). With this lot we can verify that the great price we paid will result in a fair distribution of funds, a better managed coop, investment in the mill, and even better coffee next year! There will be about 10 coffees we offer this year from this system, Duromina being one of the first to arrive despite a huge shipping backlog for coffee leaving Ethiopia. Duromina is in the Goma Woreda, with farm altitudes between 1900 to 2100 meters. I was here in November we brought a home roaster, and powered by car battery and an inverter, held an entire cupping for the coffee farmers!

Duromina is a sweet, delicate and well-structured cup, totally different from the typical dry-process Jimma coffees. The fragrance from the dry grounds has stonefruit (peach, apricot) and honey. Adding hot water, the wet aroma has floral notes, peach tree in bloom, almond extract, a hint of cherry. The cup has very refined flavor characteristics, not a "big" coffee, but a restrained and articulate one. My lightest roast (City) have amazing fruit juice sweetness, clean and crisp red berry, peach essence, lightly caramelized sugars, sweet grain. With a little more roast (City+), the grain hint disappears and the ripeness of the berry notes comes to the forefront. The body is light, complimenting the cleanly disappearing sweetness and fruit jelly flavors. This is a coffee that intensifies greatly as it cools, so to truly appreciate it, focus on the taste as the cup loses temperature.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

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Ketemaye, the business advisor for Duromina Cooperative, Agaro, Ethiopia.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Goma Woreda, Agaro, Jimma, West Ethiopia
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: April 2011 Arrival
Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Hierloom Ethiopia Varietals
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium Intensity / Sweet, peach, red berry
Roast: City to City+ roast levels have the best sweetness and fruited notes. Full City has more winey fruit notes and slight chocolate bittersweet. Darker roasts not recommended.
Compare to: Clean, bright wet-process Ethiopia coffees.
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Ethiopia Wet Process Wollega Leka Wato

What's in a name? This coffee would typically be sold as "Lekempti", a trade name in coffee to designate Western Ethiopian coffees traded through the city of Nekempte, while the coffee actually originates further west in East Wollega, also called Misraq Wellega, which is the Gimbi woreda (state). But don't confuse that with the trade name Ghimbi, which is only for dry-process coffees from the same area. In all that name changing, coffees were also made generic, sold and re-sold by traders, and eventually ended up with the Addis exporters under some name or other. Coffees from this area were considered Yirga Cheffe wanna-bes, and were not given much heed. But as some avenues for more direct purchasing have grown (and others have simultaneously diminished), new coffee sources are emerging. This is the first time we have offered a wet-process coffee from this area once branded Lekempti, except this was a lot that bypassed the trading system. Leka Wato is the name of the farm in Wato town, Leka Delecha district of East Wellega area, west of Gimbi town. The farm is at about 1750 meters, and occupies about 100 hectares.

The sweet scent from the Wollega is really remarkable. In the dry grounds there is abundant honey, and lemon wafer cookie. There are spice accents in the light roast, a bit of citrus rind, and just a hint of menthol-eucalyptus as well. The wet aroma has cane sugar in the lighter roast levels, becoming increasingly caramelly approaching FC roast. The cup is syrupy in texture, with sweet lemon and pear juice at City roast level. There is an amazing co-presence of sweetness, fruit notes, as well as ripe, bright-toned citrus to the cup. Lemon drop candy, that's a good description. It quickly changes to a dark brown sugar sweetness and more caramelized notes at City+ and Full City roast levels. I would recommend City - City+, since I find the more tarry, dark, pungent finish at FC+ a little distracting. But in fact it works so well at the lighter roasts, why go darker? My enthusiastic scores represent how sweet, bright and clean this coffee is ... if you like wet-process, high-toned Ethiopia coffees that is. Remember, if you like Sumatras primarily, this might not be a 93 for you!



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

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Apex of the Oromo house, Ethiopia.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Leka Dulecha, Wato, East Wellega
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: October 2010 Arrival (GrainPro Bag
Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Local Western Ethiopia Cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Clear and clean fruit, citrus, sweetness, bright cup
Roast: I had great roasts everywhere between City and City+ roasts
Compare to: Clean, bright and sweet flavor profile. Not for everyone though.
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Ethiopia Sidama Bonko

This is a wet-processed coffee from the Bonko area, and the Bonko wet mill. I just can't say Bonko enough, you see. Bonko in the Sidama region, Dara Woreda (district). Bonko is a private washing station with about 350 farmers from the area selling their coffee cherry to the mill. Bonko farmers average less than 1/2 hectare each (1 acre) so you usually talk about farms by number of trees, rather than land area. I visited this mill earlier this month to see the early harvest for the coming crop that was coming in. They use a traditional disc pulper to remove the coffee cherry fruit skins, then use a very long 72 hour under-water, traditional fermentation to break down the mucilage layer of the fruit. The coffee is vigorously agitated in the fermentation tank with wooden paddles to work the mucilage off, then washed to a soaking tank for a clean water overnight bath. Finally it is taken to the raised beds for drying. It's the classic coffee processing method in Sidama and Yirga Cheffe zones, and one that develops very sweet and clean coffees.

The dry fragrance is mouth-watering in its sweetness, citrusy, with a light brown sugar scent. It develops a very sweet milk chocolate quality, laced with orange notes, at Full City roast. Adding hot water, the wet aromatic is piquant and delicately spiced with a fennel cookie sweetness and zesty, lemony-bright fruit. The cup taste has distinct brightness as well. (I hate to make a cliche, but ... it really "dances on the palate"). There is that sugary, confectionary sweetness , accented with citrus and a touch of spice. The body is clear and light, which suits the high tonal range of the cup well. I recommend light roasts here to compliment the bright cup, and not to overshadow the flavors I mention with a veil of darker roast taste. But I had great FC roasts as well. The body is a little heavier at FC, and the chocolate roast taste is suave, layered, backed with dark fruit tones. And if you like fairly bright espresso, and lighter body is okay with you, we have been pulling AMAZING single origin shots with this Bonko, roasted to Full City, just before 2nd cracks starts.





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A view of Bonko from above, with the drying beds and warehouse buildings.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Bonko, Dara Woreda, Sidama
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: September 2010 Arrival Grain Pro
Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 16-17 Screen
Varietal: Local Bonko Sidama cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Very sweet, layers of fruit, citrus
Roast: City to City+ is ideal for a bright cup. But I enjoyed the sweet chocolate of FC roast too.
Compare to: Top notch wet-processed Yirga Cheffe and Sidama coffees.
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Ethiopia Sidama WP Decaf

This lot originated with a dry-processed coffee from the Sidama region, processed for decaf using the Water Process (WP) method. It's not a lot that we sent direct to be decaffeinated but I like the cup so much I had to get some. Sadly, because we didn't send it I don't know much about the origin of the coffee pre-decaf. This is still very much am Ethiopia Sidama and that's the beauty of this decaf lot; the character has been preserved, although somewhat shifted from the fruity dry-process character towards a cleaner, lighter-bodied cup. We have found this to be true in the past too: Sometimes our experience has been that a dry-processed Ethiopia will exit the decaf process with the cup character of a wet-process Ethiopia; lighter body, brighter acidity. In either case, the fruited notes, while delicate, persist in the cup, and it has traces of a wonderful floral aspect as well.

The dry fragrance is a bit "decafy" with malty and bubblegum tones that are a bit uncanny together. Sometimes decaf aroma reminds me of chocolate"ice milk" that we bought when I was a kid. It's basically like non-fat chocolate ice cream; kind of a treat, kind of a bummer. But the dry fragrance isn't the end-all. We do drink coffee, after all. The the fragrance there are hints of what is to come: Adding hot water brings out sweet fruit and floral scents. There are traces of hibiscus and dried mango in the wet aroma. The cup has plum fruit notes, some hints of raisin sweetness, and soft milk chocolate as well. The mouthfeel is rather velvety. The coffee cools really well, and has a sweet finish with plummy fruits, cinnamon, and honey sweetness.





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Coffee cherries, mid-way through the dry-process in Ethiopia.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 5
Region: Sidama, Oromia, Southern Ethiopia
Processing: Dry-Processed, then WP Decaf
Arrival Date: February 2011 Arrival
Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium Intensity / Fruited cup, slight hibiscus floral notes, honey, chocolate
Roast: City+ is recommended to preserve fruit sweetness. Full City works well too.
Compare to: A very sweet and aromatic decaf with good Ethiopia origin character
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Ethiopia FTO Sidama -Shilcho Cooperative

Shilcho is located in the Dara Woreda (district) of the Sidama zone. It is a cooperative washing station, that is, a wet mill that can bypass the Ethiopia Coffee Exchange, which renders the origins of coffee lots anonymous. I visited here earlier in the month and saw a lot of coffee in the works for the new crop; the harvest is small and about a month earlier this season than previous. This is a wet-processed batch, and Shilcho coop is using traditional fermentation methods to produce their coffee. They have a Kenya-style 3 disc pulper to remove the skins, employ a long 72 hour submerged fermentation, and wash the coffee into long channels to work off the mucilage layer. All the coffee is dried on raised beds, where it is hand sorted while wet and while dry to remove defects. This is key to the quality of Ethiopia coffee, because frankly the selection of cherries does not often include all-ripe fruit. They bank on hand-sorting to remove under-ripes, as well as skimming off "floaters" in the washing channels, as well as the cherry separator drum that is part of the disc pulper machine. Somehow, it happens, because these very mixy lots of incoming fruit emerge from the process as glittering bright coffees!

This coffee has some incredible fruited and chocolate tones, clean and dynamic. The fragrance from the dry ground coffee is so sweet and floral; guava, passion fruit, citrus flowers. The wet aroma has raw honey sweetness, and more berry-like fruit scents. The darker FC roast sample I did has a dark caramel and chocolate; it reminds me of the See's dark chocolate suckers I used to get as a kid. Sigh. I did several roasts between City and Full City+ level. The "sweet spot" was definitely at City+ where bright fruity citrus was at it's peak, and the roast taste had a raw sugar sweetness. It's a very clean cup, with a bracing citrus rind twist to the higher-toned end of the cup, but a silky sweetness in the tenor-to-bass range as well. Bergamont citrus and a black tea quality in the finish are flavors that emerged as the cup temperature cooled. I made some really remarkable SO espresso shots from the FC roast as well, aromatic espresso in the extreme.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

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Sorting coffee on the raised beds at Shilcho Coop
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Shilcho, Dara Woreda, Sidama
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: September 2010 Arrival Grain Pro
Appearance: .6 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Local Sidama Ethiopia cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Clear and clean fruit, cocoa and almond roast taste, light body
Roast: I had great roasts everywhere between City and Full City+ . It seems to work on all levels
Compare to: Clean, sweet flavor profile. Not a super citric coffee, which makes it very useful for espresso
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Ethiopia Gr. 3 Dry Process Yirga Cheffe

Dry Process Yirga Cheffe is a rather new coffee. What you have bought from us in the past is Bagersh Misty Valley dry-processed coffee from the Gedio zone, Idido Yirga-Cheffe. With the new ECX coffee exchange rules for Ethiopia coffee exports, all lots (with an exception for FTO cooperative coffees) are made anonymous when they enter the Government warehouse. That means we do not know exactly which cooperative or mill this lot is from. We know it is a Yirga Cheffe, a Grade 3 (which means little - see my notes on the grading system), and nobody needs to tell us it is a dry-process. One look at the coffee, one sniff of the fragrance when grinding, and you WILL know. While making lots anonymous has been a setback for us, and out coffee relationships in Ethiopia are on hold, a solution is in the works for next harvest ... and it doesn't mean great lots suddenly disappeared. The great coffees are still there, we just know less about them. I would hazard a guess here that this is a Gedio zone lot, which is the best area to do natural (dry-process) coffee in Yirga Cheffe, and that it might be from Idido town district as well. As you know, the tradition in Yirga-cheffe. is wet-processing, whereas Harar has a dry-processing tradition. Wet-processing is the method used in Central America and the like, resulting in a green seed with a cleaner cup profile, and less earthy or rustic cup flavors. Dry-processing involves drying the entire coffee cherry in the sun, and later removing the skin, fruity mucilage layer and protective parchment shell that surrounds the green seed ... all in one fell swoop. Excellent dry-processed coffees are difficult because the milling method for wet-processing allows for separation of ripe and unripe coffee cherry (and other defective seeds) using water and machines. But in dry-processing, sorting you under-ripes is done visually, either by sorting the ripe cherry, or later, sorting the "green" bean. (You probably know from experience with Harar and the like that the dry-processed green bean is in fact yellow, mostly because it has more of the silverskin, the chaff, still attached to it). The problem in Ethiopia is this: traditional dry-processed coffee is NOT pre-sorted to include only ripe red coffee cherry and it is sun-dried in a rather haphazard fashion. The difference with this lot is night and day (as an experienced eye can see when you look at the unroasted coffee), this originates with ripe cherry, is uniformly screen-dried in the sun, and has been dry-milled using the same screen and density-sorting techniques as wet-processed lots. The result is outstanding. The dry fragrance is heavily fruited, with intense lemon wafer cookie and apricot jam scents. The wet aroma is sweet like syrup, saturated with raw honey. It has peach and apricot in the lighter roasts, and more berry like at FC roast. The cup is fantastically fruited. Light roasts have apricot jam, hints of blueberry, passion fruit, red licorice, vanilla wafer cookie and anise. A bit darker on the roast and the fruits are more berry-like and juicy, with many of the lighter roast flavors still present to some extent. As it cools, lemony citrus comes out, or rather a honey-sweetened unfiltered homemade lemonade.





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Cool bikes of Yirga Cheffe, these just outside the Adido mill.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 3
Region: Yirga Cheffe
Processing: Dry-Processed
Arrival Date: January 2010 Arrival (GrainPro)
Appearance: 1.2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Longberry and shortberry Ethiopia cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Intense fruit, syrupy sweetness, spice, medium body.
Roast: City roast to Full City and beyond. We tested the light roasts mostly, but the darker levels will likely produce chocolate-dipped fruit notes. The SO espresso was intensely aromatic.
Compare to: A fantastic dry-processed Ethiopia without remarkable clarity in the cup flavors. I recommend doing some hand-sorting to remove the light "quaker" beans after roasting. Probably 2-3 per small batch, according to my roasts.
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Ethiopia FTO Wet Process Uraga Layo Teraga

The Uraga woreda is near to where several other really nice Ethiopia coffees from this year originate: Shakisso. While it is called a Sidama coffee, it is technically part of the very large Oromia kilil (ethnic region) of Ethiopia. Layo Teraga is a washing station, a wet mill, and produced some lots that were offered in the DST auction this year in Ethiopia. Unfortunately, that shipment was so late in coming, a victim of a huge backlog of coffee deliveries from Ethiopia this year. There was a fair trade and organic lot from the same washing station that arrived on time, and I was really impressed with the cup on arrival, so we switched out of the DST lot to this one. It all worked out well, and I think we have the better coffee, represented here in this offering. Layo Teraga has 400 members and is Fair Trade and Organic certified. I have not been to this washing station, but hope to during harvest this year. The average altitude of the producer farms is listed at a whopping 2100 meters, and that would be worth verifying.

This coffee is a balanced wet-process Ethiopia, and therefore is very interesting for espresso use too! The dry fragrance has a key lime pie sweet scent, soft and rounded citrus qualities but also a bit of strawberry and green apple. Needless to say, it is fruited and complex. The wet aroma is slightly almondy in the light roast, but otherwise it is all about the jammy fruit notes, berry and bergamot accents. What a great cup; clean fruited flavors, zesty but not too bright, refreshing. Citrus and other fruit notes are the main theme: Lemon flavors are not to acidic or shrill, but rather muted and sweet, as in a lemon meringue. The light roast flavor profile is quite simple, but very attractive too. Light roasts have a honey graham cracker roast taste, which shifts dramatically toward powdered cocoa at Full City roast. The body is light, but the finish on the cup is rather creamy, and very sweet as well. As it cools a soft almond pastel candy note emerges. Full City to FC+ is recommended for SO espresso, which is brilliant in both brightness and sweetness!



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

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Coffee in the washing channel after pulping, Ethiopia
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Layo Teraga, Uraga Woreda, Sidama
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: September 2010 Arrival
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Local Sidama Ethiopia cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Clear and clean fruit, cocoa and almond roast taste, light body
Roast: I had great roasts everywhere between City and Full City+ . It seems to work on all levels
Compare to: Clean, sweet flavor profile. Not a super citric coffee, which makes it very useful for espresso
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Ethiopia Harar Organic Dry Process Biftu Genema

The Biftu Genema lot was part of the new direct trade auction (DST) in Ethiopia this year. It arrived very late, as much of the coffee shipped out of Ethiopia has in this year. DST refers to the Direct Specialty Trade Auction, a way for smaller lots of high quality to bypass the Coffee Exchange (ECX). With the DST we know where the coffee came from and who grew it, unlike the anonymous lots that go through the ECX. The Melko Belo district (Woreda) is in the traditional coffee area of East Harar area where they have better altitude (averaging 1800 meters for this lot). The cooperative's name, Biftu Genema means "sun rise" and it has 61 male members and 10 women. As for the coffee, it's one of the cleaner and sweeter Harars I have cupped, and given that there is very little Specialty grade Harar, period, it is rather rare to have this coffee available. Some background: Harar is on the wild side of Ethiopian coffee, from a former sultanate of the Harari people, and their ancient city center, the Jugol. Harar is alone in terms of geography, culture, and (sometimes) cup quality. Harar is a dry-processed coffee, the simple, rustic method where the ripe red coffee cherry is picked from the tree and layed in the sun to dry. It turns raisin-brown, then dries so the hard shell of fruit skin, mucilage and parchment shell can be torn from the green seed in one step. The result is wild cup flavors, fruited, chocolate, spice, earth, and thick body. But since it is such a crude process, there is little mechanized intervention in terms of quality control, no machine screening, density sorting, or electronic color sorting. Everything is done with the eye and the hand, as coffee is winnowed in baskets, under-ripes, broken beans, black beans, fermented beans, all removed visually in countless hours of work. It's a human-sorting system that makes up in character what it lacks in perfection. So Harar is a crapshoot too. Each roast has some light "quaker" beans in it; each batch roasts a little different, cups out with different flavors. That said, this coffee has undergone the DST screening process, and roasts with few issues compared to standard Harar offerings, what few there are.

This is a rustic coffee in terms of cup flavors, and complex too. The dry fragrance in lighter roasts has a potent apricot dried fruit notes, nutty roast tone, and has a strong rustic sweetness of honey and light molasses. Darker roasts are more balanced, spicey, with ginger snap scent. Adding the hot water, the aromas shift; the light roast is more earthy, with sweet hay notes, while darker roasts are more pungent and chocolaty. In the cup, the light City roast had great peach notes, but also a bit too much peach skin (tight, astringent finish) and a bit of bittering peach pit. I gravitated to the darker levels, FC-FC+, which ironed out the kinks of the lighter roast. The cup is rustic, sure, with a hint of fresh earth, humus. It also has spice and chocolate as the aromatics had suggested, with traces of blackberry in the finish. The mouthfeel seems full and rounded, with a silky milk chocolate finish. It's quite complex, and as it fades there are anise-black licorice notes, black tea, and mace spice. I made some interesting roast-level melanges from 1/3 of a City+ roast with 2/3 of Full City+. In fact it might have been my favorite cup of all. We have one more Harar lot still coming, but it is a standard one, not a Auction lot like this, and who knows if it will even pass muster on arrival and make it to our list. For now, this is Harar, and I am pretty happy about that.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

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Hand sorting dry-process coffee in East Ethiopia
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 4
Region: Melko Belo Woreda, East Hararghe
Processing: Dry Process
Arrival Date: October 2010 Arrival
Appearance: 1.6 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Longberry and shortberry heirloom cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Complex cup, rustic sweetness, dried fruit, spice, berry
Roast: Light roasts of this coffee seemed dusty, tight and a bit dry. It was at Full City to Full City+ that it seemed more balanced, complex and sweeter.
Compare to: A great dry-processed Harar cup, with solid fruited sweet notes. It's a rustic cup, a la Yemen dry-processed and such.
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Ethiopia Dry Process Weshi Jimma

This is the second lot of coffee we bought from the Ethiopia Direct Specialty Trade (DST) Auction this year. It's from a large private farm owned by Ethiopian coffee farmers and investors who planted this 500 acre plot leased from the government. It was selected for the DST auction after cuppers at the Exchange identified it as having special cup quality. DST is a way for smaller lots of high quality to bypass the Coffee Exchange (ECX) where all lots are made anonymous. With the DST we know where the coffee came from and who grew it. Given the importance of direct trade between coffee buyer and the grower, and the general trend of quality-conscious roasters to want a first-person relationship with their coffee sources, the ECX seems like a step backward, toward coffee as mass commodity. But in providing the DST bypass, as well as (hopefully) new mechanisms in the coming year for small buyers to deal directly with growers, coops and private groups, they have shown sensitivity to the needs of businesses like ours. It was important for us to participate, and show our support for the DST. The farm is located between the larger towns of Bonga and Mizan Tefari in the original Kaffa coffee zone. The closest small town is Weshi. The farm ranges from 1700 to 1900 meters and is planted in longberry Ethiopia cultivars.

The preparation on this coffee is not as perfect as the Nigusie Lemma lot we bought from the DST auction, but removing a couple light "quaker" beans post roast is all it takes. The cup is outstanding though. The dry fragrance has a sweet scent of stone fruit, peach, apricot, as well as a bit of dried passion fruit. Honey is the main sweet note, and darker roasts have a molasses scent from the grounds. Adding hot water, the wet aroma is quite pleasantly intense and fruited. Again, peach, dried stone fruits, as well as baked apple are evident in the aroma, along with sweet spices, ginger and anise. Fruit and spice are the theme of the cup flavors too; apricot nectar, mango, papaya, and blood orange, accented by cardamom, and cinnamon stick. The body is a bit lighter than expected ... well, at least in the light roasts. Darker roasts have a different hue, milk chocolate with fruited undertones, and more pungent spice character. Again, there are some light "quakers" to remove post-roast, a few per batch, and doing so improves the cup greatly. (It is interesting to taste the quakers, brewed or simply nibble on them, to see the odd dry peanut flavors they have. Sometimes, rarely, that can have interesting fruit flavors too).



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

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Dry process cherry pods in Ethiopia.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 3
Region: Weshi, Jimma, Ethiopia
Processing: Dry Process
Arrival Date: October 2010 Arrival (GrainPro)
Appearance: 1.0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen
Varietal: Ethiopia longberry cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Strong fruit aromatics and flavors, sweet spices, medium-light body
Roast: City+ , Full City+. It's a great cup at most any roast. I preferred it either on the light side or darker, but not so much in the middle.
Compare to: Fruited like the Jimma Nigusie Lemma lot, not quite as perfectly prepared.
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Ethiopia Wet Process Guji Oromo

The Guji zone is part of the very large Oromiya (Oromia) Woreda in southern Ethiopia. The people are known as Gujii Oromo, and coffee farming has been a core part of the culture in the highland areas. It's a distinct coffee from Yirga Cheffe, and while we have called Guji a Sidamo, it is not that either. This coffee is produced by the Welena producer group. Geographically, culturally and in terms of cup flavors, Guji coffees can be quite distinct. While dry-process Guji lots, which are more widely available, tend to have a generic fruity flavor found also in dry-process Sidamos (or dry-process coffees from nearly anywhere in Ethiopia), it is the transparency of the wet-process that reveals the distinctiveness of these regional lots. Add to this the fact that cultivars used in Ethiopia are largely regional, distinct local strains of coffees as they spread from the wild forest plants of western Ethiopia, to Harar in the East and the southern districts like Guji. We found this lot in early harvest cupping and arranged for its importation. Ethiopia exports this year are incredibly slow, way behind schedule. (Even the use of the term 'schedule' seems bitterly ironic when talking about waiting for Ethiopia arrivals!) So I was nervous about how this direct lot would arrive. With luck and the added protection of Grainpro liners inside the jute bags, it came in great!

This is a very unique, very distinct flavor profile. I would go so far to say this is something I have experienced only a few times in my coffee experience, an Ethiopia flavor profile with such sweet spice notes, paired with tea, flowers and fruit. I kept my roasts to a fairly tight range of City to City+, since going dark on this coffee seems to obscure it's prime attributes too much. From the dry grounds, jasmine-violet floral scents are clear, as well as ginger, and dark honey. My lightest roasts have a graham cracker wet aroma (nice, but perhaps a bit too light on the roast there). City+ level has even more violet blossoms, more honey sweetness, maple syrup on pancakes, and sweet spice notes of ginger, cinnamon and cardamom. Those spice notes are so clear in the cup; fresh ginger, cardamom pods, cinnamon. Along with a lemony acidity, they are the accent notes. The first time I cupped the arrival sample, my taste impression coalesced under one term; "Gingerbread." It perfectly described the spicy sweetness, underpinned by honey and caramelized sugar. While the cup has a distinct sweetness, it is restrained, not a full, round sweetness. In fact it seems moderated by slightly bracing, tannin tea-like notes (Earl Grey). The body is fairly light, with a waxy mouthfeel and a suggestion of walnut oil. It's a very aromatic, delicate and distinct cup. It's not a powerful or aggressive coffee. Over-roast it, or, heaven forbid, add cream to it, and you can kiss that unique character goodbye.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

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Imprint of coffee on a shovel at Guji area coffee mill.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Guji Zone, Oromiya Woreda
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: August 2010 Arrival GrainPro
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Local Ethiopia cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Clear and clean fruit, refined sweetness
Roast: City to City+ captures the qualities I describe above, the clear sweetness and fruited notes. For espresso we take it to a Full City and allow no 2nd crack to occur.
Compare to: Clean, sweet, bright flavor profile, but with body as well. Not a super citric coffee, which makes it very useful as an espresso blend aroma component.
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Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Kochere

With the new ECX (Ethiopia Coffee Exchange) rules imposed now on Ethiopia coffee exports, all lots (with an exception for FTO cooperative coffees) are made anonymous when they enter the Government warehouse. Which means when we find a great coffee via importers and not direct sourcing (which is now nearly impossible in Ethiopia), we do not know exactly which cooperative or mill this lot is from. We know it is a Yirga Cheffe, a Grade 2 (which means very good preparation but can be ambiguous - see my notes on the grading system), and nobody needs to tell us it is a wet-process coffee. While making lots anonymous has been a setback for us, it doesn't mean great lots suddenly disappeared. The great coffees are still there, we just know less about them. We are sure enough this is a Kochere area lot, and it is an awesome cup.

This lot came in as a standard sample offer but jumped out on the cupping table immediately. The dry grounds have a very sweet floral-laced quality, and a unique gingerbread dough spicy-sweet scent. The wet aroma also has a unique blend of cinnamon and powdered ginger, along with caramelized sugar and a jasmine tea accent. I get some butterscotch noted from the slightly darker roast level (FC-FC+) but much of the floral scent is gone ... I really like this coffee at the lighter end of the roast range. The cup has cane sugar sweetness, and the fruit note of the coffee cherry, clean and ripe. When it has cooled completely the cup is still so sweet and dynamic, with honey and floral flavors. The body is on the light side, with a nice syrupy mouthfeel. It makes a great iced coffee too, provided you don't water it down when icing it.





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Parchment coffee resting in Yirga Cheffe before milling and export.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Kochere, Yirga Cheffe
Processing: Wet-Process
Arrival Date: August 2010 Arrival
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Local Shortberry Ethiopia types
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Bright and lovely cup, sweet, spicy and floral, light body
Roast: City roast to Full City. City to City+ is the best, brightest, sweetest cup.
Compare to: Classic Yirga Cheffe wet-processed character, with the added spicy bonus
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Ethiopia Organic Shakiso Wet Process

This is a wet-process lot from Shakiso, in the Guji district of south eastern Ethiopia. Moredocofe Sole Enterprises is unique coffee producer; a private farm and coffee mill in a land of few large private farms, but also a "private cooperative" that grouped together and organized surrounding farms to help market their coffee. It is the work of Haile Gebre, his retirement project after he left the government ministry and wanted to return to the coffee area where he grew up. I tried to visit the area late last year but there are also mining concerns in the Shakiso area were having labor disputes. Mr. Gebre told us it was better to simply avoid the place for a while, so we met in Yirg Alem in Sidama to talk coffee at the famous Aregash Lodge. I find the Moredocofe washed coffees to be quite different from other wet-process Ethiopias, Sidamo or Yirga Cheffe. It is not a bright citric cup, although certainly it has a nice sparkle of acidity in the cup. And it has more body than other wet-process coffees. The dry fragrance has a beautiful lemon wafer cookie scent, with vibrant light caramel sweetness. Adding the hot water, graham cracker sweetness and a mild floral character dominates, honeysuckle and a whiff of pink jasmine flower too. The cup has a clean, clear sweetness, like a light brown sugar taste, with mild sweet citrus marmalade accent. There is some spice tea flavor as well, cinnamon-like. As it cools a beautiful mandarin orange flavor comes forward, and the mouthfeel goes from being light and unobtrusive, to something more like fruit syrup. It's a charming coffee, more restrained perhaps than other Ethiopia lots, but it certainly grows on you with each sip. I love this coffee as an aromatic and brightness component of espresso, or as SO espresso by itself.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

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Wet process coffee being washed into the fermentation tank, Ethiopia.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Shakiso area, Gujii, Oromia
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: January 2010 Arrival GrainPro
Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Local Ethiopia cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Clear and clean fruit, refined sweetness
Roast: City to City+ captures the qualities I describe above, the clear sweetness and fruited notes. For espresso we take it to a Full City and allow no 2nd crack to occur.
Compare to: Clean, sweet, bright flavor profile, but with body as well. Not a super citric coffee, which makes it very useful as an espresso blend aroma component.
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Ethiopia Organic Shakiso Sidamo "Maduro"

This is a coffee from a remote area of the Sidamo district, quite far from where most Sidamo coffees originate. In fact, it is mostly known for the large gold mine in the area, and sadly the local tensions between farmers and mine workers becomes open conflict. The area of Shakiso is on the Guji zone, and when I was in Ethiopia in December, the local conflict made travel there unsafe. Nonetheless, we met the farmer who produces this coffee, Haile Gebre, in Yirg Alem, and we were able get a sample to cup some of this new crop Maduro lot, in anticipation of the following harvest. Maduro? This is a dry-process coffee where extra care has been directed toward harvesting only crimson-purple coffee cherries, a deeper red than the picking point for most coffee fruit. Maduro means mature in Spanish, and I am not sure how that name was adopted for and Ethiopia coffee, but that is the one Señor Gebre chose. Everything about the sensoral analysis of this coffee becomes an object lesson about the effect of coffee cherry ripeness. The dry fragrance offers an explosive, room-filling scent of plum, melon and spice. The wet aromatic has hibiscus-rose potpourri, spiced apple cider, cinnamon bark, clove, and Muscavado sugar. There is a whiff of raw cocoa nibs on the break. There is a range of cup flavors depending on roast level, but all follow the same general path, a route described by ripe fruits, a "hushed" acidity (deep-toned acidity as a direct result of mature coffee cherry), winey character, heavy body. City+ to Full City was where the flavors converged. At this roast, the cup is so remarkably sweet, it might even become cloying for some; it is a dessert coffee for sure. Flame grape, plum (with a little plum skins), melon-like ripeness, Syrah; these are some good descriptors for initial cup flavors ... but the list could be much more extensive. Spiced chocolate comes in the finish, like Ibarra Mexican hot chocolate, with clove, nutmeg and cinnamon stick accents, raw sugar panela, butterscotch rum candy. The body seems juicy and fatty as well, coating the mouth and leading to a long aftertaste. If we call your standard dry-process coffees "natural", this might be referred to as "neo-natural". It's a 90+ coffee easily for anyone who loves this flavor profile, but perhaps taboo to those who are strict washed coffee enthusiasts. There are quakers in this coffee that should be culled out after roasting.





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Fresh coffee cherry "pods" on the raised beds, Sidamo, Ethiopia.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 3
Region: Shakiso, Boreno Zone, Sidamo
Processing: Dry Process
Arrival Date: January 2010 Arrival
Appearance: 1.4 d/300gr, 14-17 Screen
Varietal: Longberry and Shortberry types
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Fruited in the lighter roasts, more pungent in the darker roasts, very sweet and intense.
Roast: A slow development to City+ yields the ripe fruit notes, whereas heading toward 2nd crack results in a spice and chocolate emphasis
Compare to: Incredibly sweet and heavily fruited Dry Process Ethiopias; Idido Misty Valley. Makes fantastic espresso, perhaps blended down a bit because at 100% it is quite fruity. This contains some small longberry beans that can fall through the large grid Behmor drum, so watch this roast carefully...
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Ethiopia FTO Shoye Sidamo WP Decaf

This is the decaf version of our Shoye Union Sidamo coffee. We sent it for custom decaffeination and it came back great! Let's decode the name first of all: "Shoye Union" is the specific cooperative mill where this coffee originates. A Union = a cooperative. FTO = Fair Trade and Organic certified. Most importantly under current Ethiopia laws, this means the lot can be exported with the name of the mill intact. WP is Water Process Decaf, a non-chemical method using water filtration. Originally this is a Dry Process, DP special selection involves harvesting ripe cherry, promptly screen-drying on raised beds, and extra steps in sorting the coffee after it is hulled. This differs from other dry-process Ethiopia coffees, which are often sometimes assembled at the tail-ends of the crop, indiscriminately picked, and consolidated later (mixing good coffee with bad). The result is that this coffee has less distraction in terms of earthy, hidey or musty flavors, common in average DP Sidamo coffees. On the contrary, this lot from Shoye is a wonderful cup that we enjoyed immensely as a non-decaf selection and thought it would be very interesting as a decaf as well. We weren't expecting it to come back the same exactly, and there is a flavor shift for sure. If anything it cups a bit more like a wet-process Ethiopia, with cleaner bright fruit notes. The dry fragrance is very sweet, with strawberry and caramel aspects, and in the wet aroma a decaf savory scent comes out. It's a fantastic decaf cup, very sweet, caramel with melted milk chocolate notes, butter-rich body, mildly fruited layers of flavor. I found the creamy mouthfeel to be one of the most outstanding features, although it might not be the first thing you think of. It sets this part from other decafs and other non-decaf Ethiopia coffees as well. I can't write caramel and milk chocolate with enough emphasis. I get these sweet notes all through the roast range. Full City works especially well here, whereas my lightest City roast (barely through first crack) was a little mineral tasting. City+ roasts have more of a fruit-citrus accent, like a twist of bergamot and Earl Grey tea. There's a chocolate/alkaloid-like dryness in the long aftertaste initially, but as the cup cools the finish seems to be fade out with grace. Note that there is a lot of bean size variation and this coffee requires the Small Grid drum to attempt roasting it in a Behmor roaster. I made some very unusual SO espresso with this coffee, but I don't think it had rested enough after roasting. I will try again in a few days.





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Raised drying beds at Shoye Union, from my last trip there.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 3
Region: Shoye, Sidamo
Processing: Dry Process, then Water Process Decaf
Arrival Date: Late March 2010 Arrival Grain Pro
Appearance: 1 d/300gr, 14-17 Screen
Varietal: Local Heirloom Types
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Chocolate, caramel, fruit, excellent body.
Roast: City+ roast to Full City +. I had the best results between City+ and FC, but nearly everything I tried with this coffee came out well.
Compare to: While different from the non-decaf Shoye lot we have, this has a wonderful character all it's own; chocolate and caramel sweetness, silky-creamy body.
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Ethiopia FTO DP Sidamo Shoye Union

Let's decode the name first of all: "Shoye Union" is the specific cooperative mill where this coffee originates. A Union = a cooperative. FTO = Fair Trade and Organic certified. Most importantly under current Ethiopia laws, this means the lot can be exported with the name of the mill intact. The process for this DP special selection involves harvesting ripe cherry, promptly screen-drying on raised beds, and extra steps in sorting the coffee after it is hulled. This differs from other dry-process Ethiopia coffees, which are often sometimes assembled at the tail-ends of the crop, indiscriminately picked, and consolidated later (mixing good coffee with bad). The result is that this coffee has less distraction in terms of earthy, hidey or musty flavors, common in average DP Sidamo coffees. To the contrary, This lot from Shoye a wonderful cup with intense fruit, strawberry in the light roasts, and spice in the darker roasts. The dry fragrance is bold; blueberry and dried strawberry scents dominate, and a strong, somewhat rustic malt-caramel sweetness. The wet aroma has a syrupy fruit character. The cup has dark brown sugar sweetness to it, and the berry flavors are present, but accented with spice notes. Cinnamon stick and aromatic wood (somewhat cedary) mark the finish, but the dominant flavor in the aftertaste is a creamy-caramel sweetness. The body is syrupy, and as it cools the cup takes on a fruit flavor I can compare to cooked peaches, ie peach pie. If you spend some time culling out iffy beans the cup has a more concentrated sweetness, and less rustic or nutty notes. It's a dry-process coffee, by no means perfect in preparation. This is a very small bean lot, with many peaberry grains in it. It might cause a bit of an issue in a Behmor roaster with a standard drum (but not so much for the small grid / fine screen drum). There are a few quakers in here too, and ideally those are removed post roast. We sent a portion of this coffee for decaffeination too, so we will have it both as "regular" and "decaf" soon. An interesting "Fair Trade" note - while this is FT certified we actually bought this for less than any other Ethiopia coffee this year. That might tell you something about both FT, as well as how we pay higher prices for cup quality, which nets the producer more than a certificate in the case of Ethiopia.





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Sorting coffee on the raised beds at Shoye Union, from my last trip there.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 3
Region: Shoye, Sidamo
Processing: Dry Process
Arrival Date: February 2010 Arrival Grain Pro
Appearance: 1.6 d/300gr, 14-16 Screen
Varietal: Local Heirloom Types
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Dried fruits and berry, syrupy body, rustic sweetness.
Roast: City+ roast will look awfully uneven, but has the most intense fruited notes. Full City has a more balanced cup, and FC+ tends toward roasty flavors.
Compare to: A heavily fruited take on dry-process coffees of Ethiopia (Harar and Sidamo). It's a bit of a wild ride, with rustic sweetness, but the amazing fruit-berry aromatics make it worth the while! Expect some quaker beans here.
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Ethiopia Organic Yirga Cheffe, Koke Coop

Yirga Cheffe coffees are a renowned wet-processed type with effervescent brightness in the cup. This past season, buying Yirga Cheffe coffees from specific mills has been difficult, as the new Ethiopia Coffee Exchange rules took effect and the traditional auction was abandoned. The new rules mean that the coffee suppliers will be paid quickly by the exporters; and a new level of transparency in pricing within the country. But it has also meant that, for the time being, we don't know the exact mill or farmer group where outstanding lots like this originate. Nonetheless, it is not like great Ethiopia lots have disappeared. And in fact we were able to buy coffees direct from the Unions (the name for a farmer's cooperative) that are traceable to the source. This is from Koke coffee mill (pronounced Ko-Kay), a part of the Yirga Cheffe Coffee Union. It was a late season lot, and comes from a place I have visited multiple times, including early in this harvest. This coffee has amazing sweetness and brightness. It's a coffee where I feel the flavor profile is heavily influenced buy the cherry selection in harvesting: this is what coffee tastes like when only crimson-red coffee cherries are picked. I kept my sample roasts lighter, within the City to City+ range, as it always seems a crime to eclipse the wonderful brightness of a great Yirga Cheffe with an overlay of darker roast flavor. The dry fragrance is highly floral, with both rose petal and lemon blossom scents, and ripe cherry fruit notes, It has a candy-like sweetness that in underscored in the wet aromatics as well. An aroma of lavender, stone fruits and mandarin orange emerge and an amaretto hint. The cup has sweet fruited notes, floral elements, and a silky mouthfeel. Peach nectar, apricot preserves, sweet mandarin orange, almond, passion fruit juice; these are some of the delicate fruited notes that come from the lighter roast of this coffee. Jasmine tea, rose hips and hibiscus notes come forward as the cup cools. City+ roast has a more silky body, and perhaps a slightly more refined finish, but also more restrained fruit notes. I recommend a very light roast here, although the roast color will not be attractive and there will be a wrinkly surface texture to the bean, I think it gives the best cup. And holy smokes, I made some amazing SO espresso from this coffee.





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Hand-sorting parchment coffee at Koke Union, from my last trip there.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Yirga Cheffe District
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: January 2010 Arrival, GrainPro bags
Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen
Varietal: Local Yirga Cheffe cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Mild intensity / Ripe fruit sweetness, spice, rounded character, syrupy body
Roast: City roast is best here, while City+ offers more balance and a slightly better finish.
Compare to: A very sweet cup with remarkable clarity in the cup flavors, moderate acidity, rounded cup character. This is not one of those citrusy-acidic Yirgs, but has a deeper, less "prickly" acidity.
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Ethiopia Dry-Process Sidamo MC Decaf

It seems inevitable that a name we put on a coffee is going to be this complicated; why not just make up fanciful names like Abyssinia Delight or African Trader or ... well, I would rather just stick to the facts, and in this case the facts are: Dry-processed coffee from the Sidamo region, processed for decaf using the MC Decaf method. Now that's confusing. This is still very much a Sidamo and that's the beauty of this coffee. MC decaf is the traditional decaf process, and at one time there was only that and Swiss Water available for specialty grade coffees. The MC process has improved (done best by KVW as well as Coffein, both in Germany). The secret is the coffee sent to the decaffeination plant is really, really good lots of green coffee, and not whatever doesn't sell or whatever the plant has lying around. That's the old way of thinking in decafs: they have usually been the lowest priced green lots, or the overstock. So here we started with an exceptional lot of Ogsaddey Dry-process Sidamo, a bright, fruited cup, highly aromatic. And we end up with something that can be described exactly the same way. This decaf Sidamo has all the top-end bright notes and floral-fruit flavors endemic to a really good Sidamo. It has medium body, nice aromatics of fruit, wild-honeyed roast tastes, with a long finish. There are orangey citric notes, and a bit of syrup in the finish. If I cupped this blind I would not suspect it was decaffeinated. Please be aware that this decaf has very different coloring than most and is lighter, but it is one of the best decaf lots we've had.





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A few coffee cherries, and kids trying to get in the photo! From my last trip to Ethiopia.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 4-5
Region: Sidamo
Processing: Dry-Processed, then MC Decaf
Arrival Date: January 2009 Arrival
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Shortberry types
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild-Medium intensity / Great aromatics, fruited notes
Roast: City+ to Full City+: works best as a lighter roast for brewed coffee. Note that this coffee seems to roast rather quickly, and seems to pass from 1st to 2nd crack more rapidly than other decaf lots. Why? I dunno. It's great decaf, period
Compare to: Highly aromatic, fruited decaf cup. For more info on the MC process, see my article: http://www.sweetmarias.com/health.eco.html
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Ethiopia FTO Oromia Yirga Cheffe

Yirga Cheffe coffees are a reknowned wet-processed type with effervescent brightness in the cup. This past season, buying Yirga Cheffe coffees from specific mills has been difficult, as the new Ethiopia Coffee Exchange rules took effect and the traditional auction was abandoned. The new rules mean that the coffee suppliers will be paid quickly by the exporters, and a new level of transparency in pricing within the country. But it has also meant that, for the time being, we don't know the exact mill or farmer group where outstanding lots like this originate. Nonetheless, it is not like great Ethiopia lots have disappeared, and this is an example. In fact, this is an Fair Trade and Organic certified lot, and since it came from a cooperative Union, Oromia, this is exempt from passing through the new coffee exchange. In the past few years, we have not seen the best lots from Oromia Union, but perhaps the new rules have tipped the scale to their advantage. This coffee simply amazed me with it's sweetness when we first roasted and ground the sample! The dry fragrance has a full, rounded sweetness, with brown sugar and raisiny fruit scents. The wet aroma is intensely sweet as well, caramelly and fruited; it reminds me of a baked apple with cinnamon and sugar on it. The cup has dark fruit notes, sugar plum, raisin, and a bit of Mission black fig. It is not one of those thin, bright, citrusy Yirgs, but has a syrupy body and surprising depth in the flavors, even in the lighter roast levels. The "rounded" complete character hinted at in the dry fragrance is realized in the cup. It's the type of cup that results from coffee cherry being picked when they are deep crimson red and the sugars in the fruit are at their maximum. It certainly has an acidic snap to the cup, but nothing like screaming bright Yirgs (which I love, but I realize they are not for everyone). In the finish, there is a spicy sweetness, maple syrup in nature, with cinnamon, and slight traces of clove and allspice. All these qualities are best realized at a City+ roast.





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Sorting parchment coffee in Yirga Cheffe.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Yirga Cheffe District
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: Ocotober 2009 Arrival
Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen
Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Mild intensity / Ripe fruit sweetness, spice, rounded character, syrupy body
Roast: City+ roast - see my notes about the roast above.
Compare to: A syrupy Yirga Cheffe with remarkable clarity in the cup flavors, moderate acidity, rounded cup character.
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Ethiopia DP Haile Selassie Sidamo

Emperor Haile Selassie did not harvest this coffee or own the mill, but he is certainly inspiration for the name of this coffee facility located in the Dara area of Sidamo (and not far from where our Korate coffee originated last year). The process for this DP special selection involves harvesting ripe cherry, promptly screen-drying on raised beds, and extra steps in sorting the coffee after it is hulled. This differs from other dry-process Ethiopia coffees, which are often picked at the tail-ends of the crop, indiscriminately picked, and consolidated later (mixing good coffee with bad). The result is that this coffee has less distraction in terms of earthy, hidey or musty flavors, common in average DP Sidamo coffees. To the contrary, it's a wonderful cup with intense fruit, dried strawberry in the light roasts, and spice in the darker roasts. The fragrance from the ground coffee has a richly layered fruit quality, with tamarind, guava, peach, as well as a creamy milk chocolate scent. There is a yerba matte note when pouring the hot water; in the aroma it fades into mango, cooked peach, nutmeg and other warming spices. On the break there is a very intense cherry scent! The coffee has interesting fruit on so many levels, it is hard to list. And with each new roast and each new brew, it shows even more. Many of these cup like dried fruits, like fruit strips, or fruit roll-ups. There is stone fruit, peach and apricot, as well as light plum notes. Mango sweetness comes through, as well as intensely aromatic dried strawberries. The sweetness is mainly fructose, a soft sweet quality, but also somewhat caramelly, with vanilla accents. There is a creamy, buttery quality as well, especially as the cup cools. Slightly darker roasts show anise spice, a bit of caraway seed, fresh ginger, sarsaparilla bark, and cardamom. It's a very sweet cup, in particular the lighter roast levels. It needs a few days rest to develop body, and very fresh roasts can have a tight dryness in the finish. And yet the aromatics are explosive with a short overnight rest on this coffee. Now this is a bit odd, but we made incredible, I mean ... jaw-dropping incredible ...espresso from this coffee, straight, but it was from some relatively light roasts, City+, with 6 days rest. I didn't think a DP Ethiopia could produce such an amazing shot with such a light roast! If you like wildly bright espresso with an hour of aftertaste, this might be for you; lighter roast, longer rest. It's the nature of DP coffees to have variation in surface color, as well as from cup to cup (or shot to shot). But this coffees has relatively few quakers and shows that more care was put into selection and harvest here.





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View toward Haile Selassie area from Dara town, Sidamo.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 3
Region: Dara Woreda, Sidamo
Processing: Dry Process
Arrival Date: November 2009 Arrival (GrainPro-Lined Bags)
Appearance: 1.2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Local Heirloom Types
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Dried fruits, spice, body.
Roast: City+ roast will look awfully uneven, but has the most intense fruited notes. FC has the best balance of body and fruit, FC+ is full of intense anise/licorice/cardamom flavors.
Compare to: A very cleanly fruited take on dry-process coffees of Ethiopia (Harar and Sidamo)
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Ethiopia Organic Dry Process Guji Sidamo

This dry-processed coffee from the Guji area of Sidamo region has surpassed every Harar sample we received this year. The process for this special selection involves harvesting ripe cherry, promptly screen-drying on raised beds, and extra steps in sorting the coffee after it is hulled. This differs from other dry-process Ethiopia coffees, which are often picked at the tail-ends of the crop, indiscriminately picked, and consolidated later (mixing good coffee with bad). The result is that this coffee has less distractions in terms of earthy, hidey or musty flavors, common in DP Sidamo coffees. In fact, it's a wonderful cup, and it has both dried strawberry fruit in the light roasts, and intense spice in the darker roasts. There's everything else in here too; hints of fresh tobacco, herbs, licorice. And oddly enough when we started to brew our test roasts (in this case, the Technivorm), we had ton of blueberry syrup flavors in the cup, something that was not very pronounced on the cupping table. So it can be variable ... this is true with all dry-processed coffees, and always true with the Ethiopian dry-processed. It's just part of the sun-dried coffee process where whole cherry is patio-dried, then the whole husk and parchment is removed in one step, and all defective coffee seeds are removed by visual sorting. That means a few decent-looking seeds will make it through the process that are indeed a bit under-ripe. You can cull out any really, really light-colored seeds after roasting, or leave them in. As a fun experiment, you can try to grind and brew the light ones, or simple munch on them to get a sense of what they contribute or detract from the cup. In a strict sense (that we grade wet processed coffees) they are defective: under-ripes. But they are a part of the coffee culture, and the cup, with Ethiopian coffees, where there is no wet-mill equipment to sort coffee; it is all done with the hand and eye. As mentioned, the cup shifts greatly in character from light to dark roast levels. The lighter City/City+ roast has more fruited notes, dried strawberry, blueberry, light caramel sweetness. Full City and darker shifts to bittersweet roast taste, chocolate and a very dominant anise spice note, licorice at Full City+ or Vienna roast. The body is thick, as one would hope for in a DP coffee, except in the lightest roast levels.





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Whole dried coffee cherry on the raised beds, from my last trip to Sidamo area.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 3
Region: Guji, Sidamo
Processing: Dry Process
Arrival Date: Late July 2009 Arrival
Appearance: 1.4 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Longberry and Shortberry types
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Fruited in the lighter roasts, anise/licorice in the darker roasts
Roast: City roast will look awful, but has the most fruited notes. City+ to FC has the best balance of body and fruit, FC+ is full of intense anise/licorice flavors. See the notes about culling out light under-ripes from the roast.
Compare to: Classic Dry-process coffees of Ethiopia (Harar and Sidamo) and Yemen. We found it a bit too intense for espresso, except under 20% as part of a blend.
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Ethiopia Organic Guji Sidamo SWP Decaf

This originated with a really balanced, sweet, wet-processed lot of coffee from the Moredocofe farm in the Guji region. We cupped the green coffee and thought it was really nice, and knew it would be a very flavorful decaf. And the results turned out to be great. One note: This coffee is a bit hard to judge in the roast process, because of the way decafs brown in the roast process (and Swiss Water decafs are maybe the darkest, and most difficult to judge by surface color). The dry fragrance has floral hints, nutty roast tone, and is quite sweet. The wet aroma from the light roast is very sweet, dripping in honey, with a touch of citrus. Darker roasts have a deep caramel sweet scent. The cup has a rounded sweet tone ...again with the honey descriptor. The light roast has a graham cracker note, lemon cookie brightness, and a touch of jasmine. I am really impressed with the body here. It seems to have even more body than the green sample before we sent it to Swiss Water ... is that possible? The finish is mild and cleanly disappearing on the palate. It has really charming character of a clean, wet-process Ethiopia coffee, exactly like it should. I cupped it on a table of non-decaf, wet-process Ethiopia Sidamos and Yirga Cheffe coffees and it held it's own, mark for mark, against the rest (and surpassed a few samples as well!) I think it is at it's zenith in terms of brightness, sweetness, and has maximum "origin character" at City + roast level. So listen carefully to the roast, track the smell, target City+ roast level, and remember that surface color on a SWP decaf can fool you! This is definitely one of the most delicate and sweet decafs we have, but because it is such a spendy coffee before decaffeination, and the SWP method is expensive too, it ends up being a higher-priced decaf. I feel it is really worth it, based on the results here at the cupping table.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

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Cupping at Moredocofe lots at Oromia Union in Addis Ababa, a season ago.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Guji, Sidamo
Processing: Wet Process, then Water Process Decaf'ed
Arrival Date: October 2009 Arrival
Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen
Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild-Medium intensity / Sweet honey notes, mild citrus and floral elements
Roast: City+ roast is ideal, and results in the most bright and sweet cup. See the notes above about judging roast of an SWP decaf.
Compare to: Great Ethiopia character for a decaf! Try to maintain a lighter roast level, City+ or so. Makes a compelling espresso component at FC-FC+ as well.
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Ethiopia Gr.3 Dry Process Yirga Cheffe

Dry Process Yirga Cheffe is a rather new coffee. What you have bought from us in the past is Bagersh Misty Valley dry-processed coffee from the Gedio zone, Idido Yirga-Cheffe. With the new ECX coffee exchange rules for Ethiopia coffee exports, all lots (with an exception for FTO cooperative coffees) are made anonymous when they enter the Government warehouse. That means we do not know exactly which cooperative or mill this lot is from. We know it is a Yirga Cheffe, a Grade 3 (which means little - see my notes on the grading system), and nobody needs to tell us it is a dry-process. One look at the coffee, one sniff of the fragrance when grinding, and you WILL know. While making lots anonymous has been a setback for us, and out coffee relationships in Ethiopia are on hold, a solution is in the works for next harvest ... and it doesn't mean great lots suddenly disappeared. The great coffees are still there, we just know less about them. I would hazard a guess here that this is a Gedio zone lot, which is the best area to do natural (dry-process) coffee in Yirga Cheffe, and that it might be from Idido town district as well. As you know, the tradition in Yirga-cheffe. is wet-processing, whereas Harar has a dry-processing tradition. Wet-processing is the method used in Central America and the like, resulting in a green seed with a cleaner cup profile, and less earthy or rustic cup flavors. Dry-processing involves drying the entire coffee cherry in the sun, and later removing the skin, fruity mucilage layer and protective parchment shell that surrounds the green seed ... all in one fell swoop. Excellent dry-processed coffees are difficult because the milling method for wet-processing allows for separation of ripe and unripe coffee cherry (and other defective seeds) using water and machines. But in dry-processing, sorting you under-ripes is done visually, either by sorting the ripe cherry, or later, sorting the "green" bean. (You probably know from experience with Harar and the like that the dry-processed green bean is in fact yellow, mostly because it has more of the silverskin, the chaff, still attached to it). The problem in Ethiopia is this: traditional dry-processed coffee is NOT pre-sorted to include only ripe red coffee cherry and it is sun-dried in a rather haphazard fashion. The difference with this lot is night and day (as an experienced eye can see when you look at the unroasted coffee), this originates with ripe cherry, is uniformly screen-dried in the sun, and has been dry-milled using the same screen and density-sorting techniques as wet-processed lots. The result is outstanding. The dry fragrance are heavily fruited, with intense blueberry and apricot jam scents and vanilla wafer sweetness. The wet aroma is sweet like syrup, saturated with raw honey. It has peach and apricot in the lighter roasts, and more berry like at FC roast. The cup is fantastically fruited. Light roasts have apricot jam, hints of blueberry, passion fruit, red licorice, vanilla wafer cookie and anise. A bit darker on the roast and the fruits are more berry-like and juicy, with many of the lighter roast flavors still present to some extent. As it cools, lemony citrus comes out, or rather a honey-sweetened unfiltered homemade lemonade.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

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Whole coffee cherry pods, in the middle stage of the dry-process, on the raised drying bed in Ethiopia.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 3
Region: Yirga Cheffe
Processing: Dry-Processed
Arrival Date: October 2009 Arrival (GrainPro)
Appearance: 1.2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Longberry and shortberry Ethiopia cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Intense fruit, syrupy sweetness, spice, medium body.
Roast: City roast to Full City and beyond. We tested the light roasts mostly, but the darker levels will likely produce chocolate-dipped fruit notes. The SO espresso was intensely aromatic.
Compare to: A fantastic dry-processed Ethiopia without remarkable clarity in the cup flavors. I recommend doing some hand-sorting to remove the light "quaker" beans after roasting. Probably 2-3 per small batch, according to my roasts.
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Ethiopia Moplaco Yirga Cheffe

Yirga Cheffe coffees are a renowned wet-processed type with delicate floral and fruit brightness in the cup. As a sub-region of Sidamo, Yirga Cheffe seemed like quite a specific designation several years ago, but times are changing in the coffee world. As small buyers of micro-lots start to travel to coffee origins more, our ability to designate the source of our coffees becomes more specific. And now we have started to find, within the Yirga Cheffe area, special regions with particular cup character. Comically, this lot does not represent that type of coffee; it's an old style pooled Yirga Cheffe by Moplaco Export, one that passed through the new Ethiopia Coffee Exchange (ECX) so that we aren't sure of it's exact origin within the Yirga Cheffe region. However, I thought it was a really, really nice coffee upon cupping it! The fact the ECX has become more of an obstacle than an aid in sourcing great coffee is still true, but there are exceptions. After all, really nice lots still exist and go to the exchange, and while we don't know the exact Coop or Private mill it comes from, it's still the same coffee. It just takes a lot of cupping to find them. Dry grounds have a distinct lemon cookie scent, with floral and honey sweet scents. The wet aromatics are fantastic; very sweet honeysuckle blossom, honey-butter, sugar cane, orange and even a zest of crushed spearmint. The cup has a soft, full mouthfeel, and ample sweetness. It's a surprisingly silky body for a Yirga Cheffe, which can sometimes be a little thin. Apricot and peach notes emerge, sweet stone fruits, along with the honey and floral notes found in the aromatics. As it cools, robust jasmine notes come to the foreground, along with sweetened apricot tea. It's a remarkable, aromatic coffee with complex estery high notes. I tested 5 roasts and would say that 3 of them were 95+ coffees, 1 was 92, 1 was 90. So it is roast sensitive, even in the recommended City to City+ range. But every roast was extremely good, and, based on very slight differences, some were exceptional It also does incredibly well as an aromatic component in espresso!





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New seedling coffee plants at the nursery in Yirga Cheffe
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Yirga Cheffe
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: Late August 2009 Arrival
Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen
Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Sweet fruit and flowers, silky body
Roast: City to City+ roast. Yirgs roasted too dark are just a crying shame.
Compare to: A super aromatic, sweet wet-processed Ethiopia with refined flavors.
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Ethiopia Dry-Process Sidamo MC Decaf

It seems inevitable that a name we put on a coffee is going to be this complicated; why not just make up fanciful names like Abyssinia Delight or African Trader or ... well, I would rather just stick to the facts, and in this case the facts are: Dry-processed coffee from the Sidamo region, processed for decaf using the MC Decaf method. Now that's confusing. This is still very much a Sidamo and that's the beauty of this coffee. MC decaf is the traditional decaf process, and at one time there was only that and Swiss Water available for specialty grade coffees. The MC process has improved (done best by KVW as well as Coffein, both in Germany). But the secret is the coffee sent to the decaffeination plant is really, really good lots of green coffee, and not whatever doesn't sell, or whatever the plant has laying around. That's the old way of thinking in decafs: they have usually been the lowest priced green lots, or the overstock. So here we started with an exceptional lot of Ogsaddey Dry-process Sidamo, a bright, fruited cup, highly aromatic. And we end up with something that can be described exactly the same way. This decaf Sidamo has all the top-end bright notes and floral-fruit flavors endemic to a really good Sidamo. I has medium body, nice aromatics of fruit, wild-honeyed roast tastes, with a long finish. There are orangey citric notes, and a bit of syrup in the finish. If I cupped this blind I would not suspect it was decaffeinated. Please be aware that this decaf has very different coloring than most and is lighter, but it is one of the best decaf lots we've had.





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A few coffee cherries, and kinds trying to get in the photo! From my last trip to Ethiopia.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 4-5
Region: Sidamo
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Shortberry types
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild-Medium intensity / Great aromatics, fruited notes
Roast: City+ to Full City+: works best as a lighter roast for brewed coffee. Note that this coffee seems to roast rather quickly, and seems to pass from 1st to 2nd crack more rapidly than other decaf lots. Why? I dunno. It's great decaf, period
Compare to: Highly aromatic, fruited decaf cup. For more info on the MC process, see my article: http://www.sweetmarias.com/health.eco.html
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Ethiopia Mullege Yirga Cheffe

Yirga Cheffe coffees are a renowned wet-processed type with delicate floral and fruit brightness in the cup. As a sub-region of Sidamo, Yirga Cheffe seemed like quite a specific designation several years ago, but times are changing in the coffee world. As small buyers of micro-lots start to travel to coffee origins more, our ability to designate the source of our coffees becomes more specific. And now we have started to find, within the Yirga Cheffe area, special regions with particular cup character. Comically, this lot does not represent that type of coffee; it's an old style pooled Yirga Cheffe by Mullege exports, one that passed through the new Ethiopia Coffee Exchange so that we aren't sure of it's exact origin within the Yirga Cheffe region. However, I thought it was a really nice coffee upon cupping it, not the brightest, most acidic Yirg, but one with balanced character and interesting body. Sadly, there is not much of it so it might be but a blip on our offering sheet. Dry grounds of this lot have a sweet vanilla with a lemon wafer cookie scent. It's quite floral in the wet aroma, rose-like, with mild tropical fruits. The cup impresses me because of it's balanced, buttery sweetness, and moderate acidity. It's not a super-bright Yirga Cheffe, but has a lot of floral and fruit qualities along with a creamy mouthfeel. There are rose-like flowers (like the aromatics), passionfruit and guava, and a refined sweetness. The same "lemon wafer cookie" flavor comes through, a sweet and mild citrus. The finish is slightly nutty. It's not one of those Yirgs that's a citrus explosion, but I appreciate it's quiet appeal. It also does incredibly well as an aromatic component in espresso!





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Pruning tests for coffee trees at the government coffee garden in Yirga Cheffe
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Yirga Cheffe
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: June 2009 Arrival
Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen
Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Sweet fruit and flowers, creamy body
Roast: City+ roast. Yirgs roasted too dark are just a crying shame.
Compare to: A balanced wet-processed Ethiopia with refined flavors.
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Ethiopia Dry-Process Sidamo WP Decaf

It seems inevitable that a name we put on a coffee is going to be this complicated; why not just make up fanciful names like Abyssinia Delight or African Trader or ... well, I would rather just stick to the facts, and in this case the facts are: Dry-processed coffee from the Sidamo region, processed for decaf using the Water Process (WP) method. Now that's confusing. This is still very much a Sidamo and that's the beauty of this coffee. It's bright, aromatic, spicey, fruited. We started with an exceptional lot of MAO Horse Dry-process Sidamo, which is a bright, fruited cup, highly aromatic, and we end up with something that can be described exactly the same way. In fact, I am really impressed by the strong fruited and floral aromatics, the syrupy body, and the slight rustic sweetness in this coffee. Sometimes our experience has been that a dry-processed Ethiopia will exit the decaf process with the cup character of a wet-process Ethiopia; lighter body, brighter acidity. It's not quite the case with this lot. If I cupped this blind I would not suspect it was decaffeinated. This decaf Sidamo has all the top-end, bright aromatic notes and floral-fruit character native to a really good Sidamo. I has medium-to-heavy body with the syrupy mouthfeel I already mentioned. In the cup, the flavors are remarkably floral: Jasmine! There's a great honeyed roast taste, with a long floral finish with tangerine citric sweetness. As it cools the jasmine becomes more tea-like. This is an amazing decaf, really.





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Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 4
Region: Sidamo
Processing: Dry-Processed, then WP Decaf
Arrival Date: May 2009 Arrival
Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium Intensity / Body, sweetness and origin character
Roast: City+ is recommended to preserve fruit sweetness.
Compare to: One of the most aromatic decafs with good Ethiopia origin character
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Ethiopia Wet-Process Bonko

With the current chaos in the new Ethiopia "ECX" system that permits the export from the country, I was wondering when we would see new crop lots in 2009. No doubt they will be greatly delayed. But this funny thing happened ... a friend calls and says they bought this late, late 2008 shipment of wet-process coffee; did I want any? No, is the immediate answer; that's "current crop" and it's nearing the end of it's time, since new crop is coming. (Or is it?) "No, you have to cup this coffee, it's amazing". Okay, I did and it is amazing. Never have I tasted a coffee this late in time that cupped so faultless, so fresh, so squeaky clean. It's lemony, light-bodied, effervescent in it's acidity, with sugar cookie-like sweetness. You remember Bonko, we had the dry-process starting in December '08. (This coffee is totally different from that lot, wet-process, delicate, light-bodied, bright). Bonko is a 300 member private cooperative mill of small farmers, averaging about 1 hectare each. It's in the Sidama region, Dara subdistrict. I was actually a kilometer from here early this year, but we couldn't make it to Bonko before sunset. The DP coffee from earlier this year was great, and while this cup is a polar opposite, both lots confirm the ability of this mill to produce great coffee. The dry fragrance is mouth-watering in its sweetness, citrusy, with a light brown sugar scent. Adding hot water, the wet aromatic is piquant and delicately spiced with a fennel cookie sweetness and lemony bright fruit. The cup has a lemon cookie brightness that dances on the palate. There is that sugary, confectionary sweetness mentioned before, accented with citrus and a touch of spice. The body is clear and light, which suits the high tonal range of the cup well. I recommend light roasts here to compliment the bright cup, and not to overshadow the flavors I mention with a veil of darker roast taste. 7/7/09: An additional note ... if you like bright espresso, and lighter body is okay with you, we have been pulling AMAZING single origin shots with this Bonko, roasted to C+/FC, well before 2nd cracks starts.





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Dara Woreda in Sidama area, looking toward Bonko, from my trip this year.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Bonko, Dara Woreda
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: April 2009 Arrival, 08 Crop
Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 16-17 ScreenBonko, Dara Woreda, SNNP-Sidamo
Varietal: Local Sidama cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild-Medium intensity / Light body, amazing lemon aromatics, cookie sweetness.
Roast: City to City+ is ideal
Compare to: Top notch wet-process Yirga Cheffe lots. Clean bright coffees like our Ethiopia Kebado Wet-process
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Ethiopia Organic - "Menno's Misty Valley"

To add to general coffee confusion, we now have 2 exporters of Ethiopia coffee using the name "Misty Valley." What you have bought from us in the past is Bagersh Misty Valley dry-processed coffee from the Gedio zone, Idido Yirga-Cheffe. Now we have Menno Simon's Misty Valley, from the same region, also a dry-processed Yirga-cheffe. with a great cup. So we have given this the unique appellation "Menno's Misty Valley, " a ridiculous name for an admittedly ridiculous situation. (Mr. Simon's presumes the name was his and Bagersh, er, borrowed it). I don't really care. Misty Valley sounds like marketing to me either way, or a salad dressing. What matters is the cup, and Bagersh has demonstrated cup quality. But here comes the first arrival of Menno's Misty Valley, and it is fantastic too! Like Bagersh lots, it is a special lot of dry-processed (DP) coffee from an area within Yirga-cheffe.: Idido town in the Gedio area of Yirga-cheffe. As you know, the tradition in Yirga-cheffe. is wet-processing, whereas Harar has a dry-processing tradition. Wet-processing is the method used in Central America and the like, resulting in a green seed with a cleaner cup profile, and less earthy or rustic cup flavors. Dry-processing involves drying the entire coffee cherry in the sun, and later removing the skin, fruity mucilage layer and protective parchment shell that surrounds the green seed ... all in one fell swoop. Excellent dry-processed coffees are difficult because the milling method for wet-processing allows for separation of ripe and unripe coffee cherry (and other defective seeds) using water and machines. But in dry-processing, sorting you under-ripes is done visually, either by sorting the ripe cherry, or later, sorting the "green" bean. (You probably know from experience with Harar and the like that the dry-processed green bean is in fact yellow, mostly because it has more of the silverskin, the chaff, still attached to it). The problem in Ethiopia is this: traditional dry-processed coffee is NOT pre-sorted to include only ripe red coffee cherry and it is sun-dried in a rather haphazard fashion. The difference with this lot is night and day (as an experienced eye can see when you look at the unroasted coffee), this originates with ripe cherry, is uniformly screen-dried in the sun, and has been dry-milled using the same screen and density-sorting techniques as wet-processed lots. The result is outstanding. The dry fragrance are heavily fruited, with dense body, and an aftertaste that has some citrus hints, or more accurately a chocolate-dipped orange confection. Intense cocoa notes, and at FC a single-malt Scotch finish add interest to the cup. My test roasts were in the FC to FC+ range, and I will be returning to this coffee with a C+ roast soon to see the brighter side of the fruited character. No matter, it's an amazing natural dry-processed coffee, no matter how silly is the name.





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Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Idido, Gedeo Zone Yirga Cheffe
Processing: Screen Dry-Processed
Arrival Date: June 2008 Arrival
Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Longberry and shortberry Ethiopia cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Clean, intense fruit and chocolate
Roast: FC to FC+ has intense chocolate paired with tropical fruits … see the comments above
Compare to: A fantastic dry-processed Ethiopia without remarkable clarity in the cup flavors.
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Ethiopia Organic Dry-Process Koratie

This is the DRY-PROCESS version of the Koratie coffee! Koratie is a new mark, one I have not encountered in samples or travel cupping before, so I admit knowing little about the coffee at this moment. I know it is from a region called Dara in Sidamo, between 1850-2100 meters, and grown by small-holder farmers. They were given a better coffee price for harvesting only ripe cherry (not green unripes) and the coffee was dried on raised screens. I also know that I cupped a pre-ship sample some months back and it was unbelievable, fantastic! It's a Sidamo region coffee, which means little since Sidamo is so huge, and the preparation grades out a notch above the usual for Dry Process (usually Gr. 4 or 5, this is Gr. 3). But there are still some light "quaker" beans in the roast, and the usual variety of roast colors that are endemic to dry-process Ethiopia coffees. I had 4 quakers in the roast sample, and a couple other oddities that bring the score to 2.2 defects per 300 grams. It's very easy to pick out the extremely pale-colored quakers after roasting, but you don't want to over-groom the coffee post-roast, or you may find you have culled a lot of the character out of the cup! There's quite a lot of variety in the size of the seeds, which matters not a whit in terms of cup quality (and in fact may be better for cup quality in the end). This is such an aromatic coffee! The fragrance from the dry grounds is heavenly; intense berry fruit (blueberry), with maple syrup sweetness. The wet aroma is of sweet blueberry-peach cobbler drenched in syrup. It's remarkable! While the cup is hot, the initial impression is of ripe, sweet pineapple. That peaches-in-syrup flavor is distinct too, and there is a bit of honeydew melon and cantaloupe in there too as the cup cools off. It's like an amazing fruit cocktail, a cup of nectar! I had a strong preference for the City-City+ range here, despite the fact that the roast doesn't look that good when kept this light. Give it a try.





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Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 3
Region: Dara, Sidamo, Oromia Region
Processing: Screen Dry-Processed
Arrival Date: July 2008 Arrival
Appearance: 2.2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Shortberry Ethiopia cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Intense berry, melon and tree fruit
Roast: C to C+ has the best fruit; FC has good milk chocolate but less fruit dynamics
Compare to: Fantastic dry-processed Ethiopia coffee! Note - Happily this is not a super small lot. We imagine it will sell briskly but, because we have a large supply, we think it will last quite a while on our list.
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Ethiopia Harar Horse DP -Lot 17406

Harar is the wild cousin of Ethiopian coffee, from the far Eastern regions, from the ancient city, from a culture distinct from the Southern mountains and Sidamo/Yirgacheffe, from the Western birthplace of coffee in Kaffa area, Limmu, Ghimbi, Djimmah. Harar is alone in terms of geography, culture, and (sometimes) cup quality. Harar is a dry-processed coffee, the simple, rustic method where the ripe red coffee cherry is picked from the tree and laid in the sun to dry. It turns raisin-brown, then dries so the hard shell of fruit skin, mucilage and parchment shell can be torn from the green seed in one step. The result is wild cup flavors, fruited, chocolate, spice, thick body. But since it is such a crude process, their is little mechanized interventions in terms of quality control; no machine screening, density sorting, electronic color sorting. Everything is done with the eye and the hand, as coffee is winnowed in baskets, under-ripes, broken beans, black beans, fermented beans, all removed visually in countless hours of work. It's a human-sorting system that makes up in character what it lacks in perfection. So Harar is a crapshoot too. Each roast has some light "quaker" beans in it, each batch roasts a little different, cups out with different flavors. It's the nature of the type. But in recent years the quality has been uniformly bad, mostly due to changing weather patterns. I am thrilled to say that Harar is back to it's stellar form this year though. The dry fragrance is heavily fruited, with distinct mango and tamarind scents. The wet aromatics are spicy, have honey-dipped fruit character, fresh ginger, and clove in the FC roast range. The light City to City+ roasts taste like spiced apricot tea and peach preserves. There's always that slight rustic funk to the fruited qualities of Harar. It has good body, and finishes with a spicy cinnamon note. Try to keep the roasts light for maximum bright fruit character. The coffee may not look pretty at these lighter roasts, but it is more lively. At FC the coffee has more rustic chocolate character, a slightly gamey note, and a touch of leather. You can coax a blueberry note from the cup at C+/FC roast.





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Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 4
Region: Hararghe
Processing: Dry Process
Arrival Date: March 2008 Arrival
Appearance: 2.2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Longberry and Shortberry heirloom cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Sweet candy fruit notes, body, spice.
Roast: The sweet spot here is at Full City. The fruited notes are muted a bit at this roast stage, but they behave a nice jammy sweetness. City+ has less body and balance, but higher-toned fruits. Remember, this is dry-processed natural Harar, so expect some unevenness in roast color, and 1-2 beans that "resist the roast" and should be culled out.
Compare to: A great dry-processed Harar cup, with solid fruited sweet notes. It's a rustic cup, a la Yemen dry-processed and such.
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Ethiopia Organic Wet-Process Koratie

This is the WET-PROCESS version of the Koratie coffee! Koratie is from a region called Dara in Sidamo, between 1850-2100 meters, and grown by small-holder farmers. It's a new group and we have not worked with them in the past, but their dry-process lot that arrived a month earlier was stellar! So I eagerly awaited this wet-process coffee from Koratie to find out if their quality was a fluke, or something more sustainable. Both lots were part of a quality initiative at the mill. They were given a better coffee price for harvesting only ripe cherry (not green unripes) and the coffee was dried on patio and raised screens. Oddly, I cupped this same coffee at the importer in Amsterdam and told him I wanted it ... maybe he didn't hear because he sold it to someone else (thanks!). So I was a little surprised to be offered it by the person he sold it to ... but that gave me a chance to cup the pre-ship sample (at the same time as the natural dry process sample) and it was fantastic. I guess we were fated to have this coffee in the end. It is so interesting to cup these two processes, dry- and wet-, against each other when they originate with nearly the same coffee cherry. They are so different! There's a lot of variety in the size of the seeds, not something you see so often in the wet-process coffees, and some variation in final roast color. The cup is phenomenally lively and bright! The fragrance from the dry grounds has fresh red berry, citrus, watermelon, floral (pink jasmine) and honey. The wet aroma has lemon balm herbal brightness and sweet creamy honey. In the cup ... wow, this coffee is so effervescent and alive. There's a lemon drop candy brightness (remember Lemonheads?) and lots of flowery flavors, with a honey graham cracker roast sweetness. When warm, the fruits shift to peach juice from perfectly ripe juice. As the cup cools, the brightness, sweetness and fruit of my City roast coalesce into a watermelon candy flavor (think Jolly Rancher but not so artificial). Besides reliving childhood candies in this cup, that floral lemon balm note persists. The body is fairly light, and suits such an alto-range coffee quite well. It's like a light, super-sweet fruit nectar! The aftertaste is (as expected) very clean, very floral, delicate and long-lasting. Be warned, this is a very bright cup, not as sour as some of the citrusy Kenya lots we have, but bright nonetheless! This is definitively a very special lot of Ethiopia in the wet-process tradition, totally distinct from the dry-process Koratie. You'll know when you smell those outrageous scents coming from your grinder just how aromatic this coffee is!





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Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Dara, Sidamo, Oromia Region
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: August 2008 Arrival
Appearance: .8 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Shortberry Ethiopia cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Intense berry, melon and tree fruit
Roast: C to C+ has the best fruited notes, with a light grainy sweet graham cracker roast taste. A bit darker works, but some of the soaring bright notes are lost. I strongly recommend keeping this roast as light as possible!!!
Compare to: Top notch, bright, crystal clear Ethiopia wet-process, like Yirga Cheffe
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Ethiopia Org. Sidamo DP -Special Selection (Fero Cooperative)

This dry-processed coffee from the Sidamo region has often out-cupped the more famous natural coffees of Harar. We have been obtaining a Special Selection lot from a Holland-based source for a few years, and it has come in as the best dry-process (DP) Sidamo of the season. This lot is from a particular coop in the Sidamo region, Fero Cooperative. The process for this special selection involves harvesting ripe cherry, promptly screen-drying on raised beds, and extra steps in sorting the coffee after it is hulled. This differs from other dry-process Ethiopia coffees, which are often picked at the tail-ends of the crop, indiscriminately picked, and consolidated later (mixing good coffee with bad). It's also the same process used with the Idido Misty Valley coffee, and the results of this careful and coordinated processing really show in the cup. This lot has both berry fruit and dried apricot. It has less distractions in terms of earthy and leathery flavors too, common in DP Sidamo coffees. There's everything else in here too; exotic spice, fresh tobacco, herbs. And oddly enough when we started to brew our test roasts (in this case, the Technivorm), we had ton of blueberry syrup flavors in the cup, something that was not very pronounced on the cupping table. It's intense stuff. As far as variable cups goes, this is true with all dry-processed coffees, and always true with the Ethiopian dry-processed. It's just part of the sun-dried coffee process where whole cherry is patio-dried, then the whole husk and parchment is removed in one step, and all defective coffee seeds are removed by visual sorting. That means a few decent-looking seeds will make it through the process that are indeed a bit over-ripe or under-ripe. You can cull out any really, really light-colored seeds after roasting, or leave them in. As a fun experiment, you can try to grind and brew the light ones, or simple munch on them to get a sense of what they contribute or detract from the cup. In a strict sense (that we grade wet processed coffees) they are defective: underripes. But they are a part of the coffee culture, and the cup, with Ethiopian coffees, where there is no wet-mill equipment to sort coffee; it is all done with the hand and eye.





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Fresh red coffee cherry sun-drying at Fero Coop, not perfect cherry selection, but much, much better than the usual "accidental"
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 4
Region: Fero, Sidamo
Processing: Dry Process
Arrival Date: June 2008 Arrival
Appearance: 1.4 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Longberry and Shortberry Mokka cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Heavy body and strong "natural" character - dry fruit, apricot, berry.
Roast: City+ to Full City+ roast is best: I like a more developed roast taste which aids some bittersweetness to the cup and compliments the fruit notes.
Compare to: Classic Dry-process coffees of Ethiopia and Yemen.
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Ethiopia Organic Yirga Cheffe

Yirgacheffe coffees are a reknowned wet-processed type with effervescent brightness in the cup. As a sub-region of Sidamo, Yirgacheffe seemed like quite a specific designation several years ago, but times are changing in the coffee world. As small buyers of micro-lots start to travel to coffee origins more, our ability to designate the source of our coffees becomes more specific. And now we have started to find, within the Yirgacheffe area, special regions with particular cup character. . And what we have is an extraordary, bright coffee, with soaring floral and citrus high notes. From the dry grounds through the aromatics as the coffee brews, from the tasting to the finish, this coffee has a constantly ascending pitch. There are jasmine and honeysuckle floral aromatics, vivid citrus notes of lime and kumquat in the cup, dashes of cardomom and nutmeg spice, and a remarkable clarity and resolution of these flavors in the aftertaste. That's not all; there's a refined honey sweetness in this cup that prevails into the long aftertaste. It's not a lot for those unsure about bright, dynamic acidity in coffee. (And not for the few flower-haters out there ... you know who you are! This is one of the most floral lots of Yirgacheffe in recent memory). But if you like great Kenyas, and the puncuated and piquant highest-grown Centrals than you might have the palate for this Yirgacheffe. There's a twist of orange peel in the finish. I might be getting beside myself here, but I almost recommend buying this lot just to enjoy the smell of grinding it, even if you do not like bright coffees ... that is how intoxicatingly aromatic it is.





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Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 2
Region: Yirga Cheffe
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: June 2008 Arrival
Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen
Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Bright citric sweetness and very floral.
Roast: City+ roast. Yirgs roasted too dark are just a crying shame.
Compare to: A fantastic wet-processed Ethiopia with remarkable clarity in the cup flavors, and laced with bright floral-citrus notes key to Yirga-Cheffe.
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Ethiopia Organic Dry-Process Birbissa

This is a late season "surprise" lot that came at a time we needed nothing from Ethiopia. In fact, was worried we had bought way to heavy, especially with our small lot coffees from the Farm Gate program. But when a sample like this get's plopped on your doorstep, how can one refuse? It's like turning your back on a wimpering stray puppy. Okay, it's not like that. But the coffee was shockingly good, with syrupy body and a cornucopia of fruits. This is a "Union" coffee, meaning it is from a cooperative mill called Birbissa, in a Sidamo micro-region of the same name. It has 1475 members in the coop, with small garden-type coffee farms of around .5 hectares each. In truth, you measure farms like this in the number of trees ... 150, 200 ... not in square meters because they are so small. The altitude ranges from 1600 to 2000 meters above sea level, and the coop has Organic certification. The real story here is (as always) the cup. It's a baritone-level dry-processed coffee, and as I mentioned, it has syrupy thick body. There is ample chocolate roast taste at FC to FC+ level, but the main flavors here are dried and slightly dusty fruits: strawberry, cantaloupe melon, peach, apricot. It's not without a bit of dry-process funk, a ripe and winey accent to the fruit, and a suggestion of earthy spice peaking out behind the roast flavor. It's sweet, but in that way we characterize as rustic. For those who love dry-process Ethiopia coffees, these are not only acceptable flavors, they are embraceable.





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Whole coffee cherry pods drying on raised beds in Ethiopia, for DP coffee. From my Feb '09 trip.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 3
Region: Birbissa, Sidamo region, Oromia
Processing: Dry Process
Arrival Date: January 2009 Arrival
Appearance: .6 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen
Varietal: Local Sidamo heirloom cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Syrupy body, heavy fruited notes, moderate acidity
Roast: Full City to Full City+ roast
Compare to: Classic dry-process Ethiopia character, with tons of fruit, great body, a bit of funk too.
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Ethiopia Organic Kemala "Korito Koran"

This coffee originates close to where the dry-process Koratie from earlier this season is grown. It is in the Dara Woreda (politial district) and the SNNP state, south of the Oromia area. There is very little information about Dara area, and I have skirted it without ever being there (next Ethiopia trip, for sure!) Part of the Sidamo zone, Dara is bordered on the south by the Gedeo (Yirga Cheffe) and on either side of it by the Oromia Region, where so many Sidamo coffees are from. Towns in Dara include Teferi Kela and Kebado (the excellent wet-process lot we have). This coffee is part of "Operation Cherry Red" to pay better prices for the harvest of the best, ripest cherry, and it shows in the roast and cup. It's a true-blue dry-process lot, tons of chocolate and fruit. It's not a bright coffee: The main storyline with this coffee is body, thick, creamy, heavy body. It has very low acidity, and there are latent mango and peach fruit flavors in the cup. As it cools there is an apricot tea quality to the finish. These merge in the finish, clean and without the typical issues with natural (dry-process) Ethiopias. As with many coffees that are not to shrill in their brightness, this is a really fantastic SO (Single Origin) Espresso! It packs a real wallop as a pure, un-blended single espresso shot, with amazing peach brandy flavors, and creamy body.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

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Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 3
Region: Dara Woreda, SNNP
Processing: Dry-processed
Arrival Date: Dec 2008 Arrival
Appearance: 1 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia Typicas
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity/Heavy body, chocolate, peach-mango fruit
Roast: FC to FC+ for brewed coffee … but definitely try an SO espresso shot at FC+ roast. It's fantastic
Compare to: Classic Dry-Process Ethiopia fruit and chocolate flavors - Great, heavy, thick body, and great as espresso.
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Ethiopia Organic Natural Djimma WP Decaf

Inevitably, if we try to name this coffee accurately it is going to end up as a tongue twister; why not just make up fanciful names like Abyssinia Delight or African Trader or ... well, I would rather just stick to the facts, and in this case the facts are: certified Organic Dry-processed (aka Natural) coffee from the Djimma region, processed for decaf using the Water Process (WP) method. Now that's not so confusing, is it. To make it more difficult, we use the term Natural to mean Dry-Process, as many do in the coffee world. Why? Because the name was too long! Unlike other uses of the term Natural (i.e. empty claims on food labels), it DOES man something specific in coffee; drying whole cherry without removing the skin. This is a very fruited, Ethiopia coffee. It's bright, aromatic, somewhat spicy, fruited. The body is fairly light, but suits the tea-like qualities of the cup. This decaf Djimma has all the top-end bright notes and floral-fruit flavors intrinsic to a really good Sidamo. I has medium body, nice aromatics of fruit, wild-honeyed roast tastes, with a long finish. There are orange-marmalade citric notes, and a bit of syrup in the finish. There is a unique spiciness in this cup, similar to the blend of mulling spices used for hot apple cider. If I cupped this blind I would not suspect it was decaffeinated but form some slightly odd aromatic hints. But in the cup, it's an amazing decaf coffee.





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Winnowing stages of dry-process coffee in Ethiopia
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 4
Region: Djimma (Djimmah)
Processing: Dry-Processed, then WP Decaf
Arrival Date: August 2008 arrival
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Shortberry types
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild-Medium intensity / Great aromatics, a "fruit bomb" coffee.
Roast: City+ to Full City+: works best as a lighter roast for brewed coffee. Note that this coffee seems to roast rather quickly, and seems to pass from 1st to 2nd crack more rapidly than other decaf lots. Why? I dunno. It's great decaf, period
Compare to: Highly aromatic, fruited decaf cup. For more info on the Water process and other decaf methods, see my article: http://www.sweetmarias.com/health.eco.html
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Ethiopia Dry-Process Sidamo WP Decaf

It seems inevitable that a name we put on a coffee is going to be this complicated; why not just make up fanciful names like Abyssinia Delight or African Trader or ... well, I would rather just stick to the facts, and in this case the facts are: Dry-processed coffee from the Sidamo region, processed for decaf using the Water Process (WP) method. Now that's confusing. This is still very much a Sidamo and that's the beauty of this coffee. It's bright, aromatic, spicey, fruited. We started with an exceptional lot of Ogsaddey Dry-process Sidamo, which is a bright, fruited cup, highly aromatic, and we end up with something that can be described exactly the same way. This decaf Sidamo has all the top-end bright notes and floral-fruit flavors endemic to a really good Sidamo. I has medium body, nice aromatics of fruit, wild-honeyed roast tastes, with a long finish. There are orangey citric notes, and a bit of syrup in the finish. There is a unique spiciness in this cup, similar to the blend of mulling spices used for hot apple cider. If I cupped this blind I would not suspect it was decaffeinated!





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Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 4
Region: Sidamo
Processing: Dry-Processed, then WP Decaf
Arrival Date: January 2008 Arrival
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen
Varietal: Shortberry and Longberry types
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild-Medium intensity / Great aromatics, fruited notes
Roast: City+ to Full City+: works best as a lighter roast for brewed coffee. Note that this coffee seems to roast rather quickly, and seems to pass from 1st to 2nd crack more rapidly than other decaf lots. Why? I dunno. It's great decaf, period
Compare to: Highly aromatic, fruited decaf cup. For more info on the Water process and other decaf methods, see my article: http://www.sweetmarias.com/health.eco.html
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Ethiopia Organic DP Bonko "Black Sun"

Bonko is a 300 member cooperative of small farmers, averaging about 1 Hecatare each. It's in the Sidamo region, Dara subdistrict. This is a special lot we selected, hence the Black Sun designation from the export mark. It's a natural coffee, another way of saying dry-process. This means whole ripe coffee cherries are picked from the tree and laid out to dry on raised screens (sometimes called African Bed drying). This is a great method for dry-process coffees since fermented flavors emerge if the fruit takes too long to dry, and a raised bed means that convective air currents dry the coffee from above and below. Good drying is really evident in the cup here, as well as the fact that only red-ripe cherry went into the lot. This was part of a program called "Operation Cherry Red" designated to pay higher prices to the farmer coops for better-quality harvesting. This shows in the quality of the roast and the clean sweetness of the cup. Ripe fruit and rustic sweet syrup dominate the dry fragrance. There is ample strawberry and "apricot preserves" in the sweetness too. The cup has the same jammy flavors, strawberry, stone fruits - apricot, peach and plum. It has a hazelnut roast tone behind the fruited notes at City+ roast, and mild milk chocolate begins to show itself at Full City. It's a rare natural Ethiopia that can take a lighter roast and not have some sort of odd cup flavor emerge. Again, it's a testament to the fact that this lot is well-picked and well-prepared at the mill. If you can keep this to a City or City+ roast, you will be rewarded with a fantastic cup!



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

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Longberry Typica coffee tree in Ethiopia, from my '08 trip
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 3
Region: Bonko, Dara Woreda, SNNP-Sidamo
Processing: Dry-Processed
Arrival Date: December 2008 Arrival
Appearance: 1.4 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Longberry and shortberry Ethiopia cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Super sweet, jammy fruit at the lighter roast levels.
Roast: City to City+ is ideal, lighter that is recommended for most Ethiopia natural coffees.
Compare to: Elevated ripe fruit flavors, syrupy sweet. This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.
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Ethiopia Organic Wet-Process Kebado

Kebado is a very small town off the main road to Dilla coming from Awassa in the Sidamo area. It is accessed by a dirt road which travels 2.9 kilometers up a mountain called Metesio. A back road connects Kebado with Teferikela and Aleta Wondo. But is impassible much of the year. From this humble rural setting comes one of the most nuanced, exciting Ethiopia coffees. This was a special lot we found that was vacuum packaged In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to preserve cup quality. The results are fantastic. The fragrance from the dry coffee grounds have layers of fruit, ripe plum and passion fruit. There's a confectionairy quality to the wet aroma, pastry and candy-like, with the light City roast being more citrusy and effervescent, and the FC roast having more berry-like tones. I would be remiss if I didn't add that this coffee is so floral, from start to finish. In the cup ... wow ... the lightest roasts are incredibly lively. If you like lighter roasts, if you like dynamic, bright flavor profiles, then Kebado is it. It's the kind of coffee that can win competitions. The acidity is so well-defined, so articulate and fine, with lemony brightness and a bit of lime as an aftereffect. The body is very light, yet comes off refined and velvety. At these very light roasts, the balance between a momentary, initial sour to sweet, perfectly ripe fruit is thrilling. There are white grape flavors embedded in the complex of fruit notes, as well as starfruit, pear and Gala apple. The aftertaste in City roast is not grainy, as some light roasts can be, but has green tea tightness, offset by sweet fading fruit. At Full City roast, the cup doesn't have the same skyscraping high notes, but has excellent Flame grape and plum flavors. It's a joy to cup this coffee. This is the first vacuum-packed Ethiopia we have offered. (BTW, that means we receive it in vacuum bags, then we pack it and ship it in our normal zip bags.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

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Ripe red coffee cherry from Ethiopia, '07 image.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 4
Region: Kebado, Sidamo
Processing: Wet-processed
Arrival Date: November 2008 Arrival
Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen
Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Floral and citric sweetness
Roast: City to City+ roast - see my notes about the roast above.
Compare to: A syrupy Yirga Cheffe with remarkable clarity in the cup flavors, that is best with a very light roast. This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.
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Ethiopia Organic DP - Dale Yirga Alem

Dale is in Sidamo district near Yirga Alem, but in a different political state (Woreda) than other lots we get. It goes by the attractive name SNNP: Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region. Don't ask why. It's the most diverse district with some 45 distinct ethnic groups, but the official language is the common Amharic. Many Sidamo coffees are from the Oromia woreda, which nearly envelops SNNP. The Dale coop is within 5 minutes drive of the Aregash Lodge and the well known Fero Fair Trade Coop by the village of Mesncho. Dale Coop has 300 smallholder farmers between Awassa and Dilla at a range of 1750-1950 meters, and includes the towns of Sokoru and Sole. They are very small coffee plots, garden grown, natural, sun-dry process, with careful selection of ripe cherries. The coop is Organic Certified. There are so many amazing dry-process Ethiopias to chose from this year ... it's an epic year for DP coffees. The Dale is outstanding, it would be a tragedy to miss out on this (luckily we have a good stock and it should last - there were 2 lots imported and we snagged a good portion on this one. The other was noticeably less intense). The dry fragrance offers a good hint at the cup flavors to come. There are intense fruited notes, both berry and fleshy fruit (peach, apricot, some plum). The spice accent is ginger and a bit of clove. The wet aroma has strong, pulpy fruitiness, and sage herbal notes. The cup is (no surprise) loaded with plum, ripe nectarine, and berry fruits. Unlike other coffees, my lightest test roasts (City-City+) did not really result in the best quality fruited notes. It was at Full City that they came into their own, along with fresh ginger spice, some macadamia nut roast tone, and a finish of bittersweet chocolate and cola notes. Add a little more roast time and the chocolate becomes exponentially more pronounced, at FC+ and light Vienna roast levels. While the coffee works well under this wide range of roasts, it is a dry-process natural Ethiopian from small coop member "coffee gardens." So we see some light "quakers", the result of some unripe coffee cherry making it into the final green coffee, at a rate of about 2 per 120 grams. Pull out these lightest of the light beans, but normal variation in bean-to-bean roast color is to be expected. The Dale is a little lower in tone, in acidity, than the excellent Koratie Dry-Process, but certainly a coffee in the same vein. And both are a quality of DP Ethiopia that was quite rare last year.





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Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 3
Region: Dale, Yirga Alem, Sidamo, SNNP
Processing: Screen Dry-Processed
Arrival Date: July 2008 Arrival
Appearance: 2.6 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Shortberry Bourbon cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Intense berry, melon and tree fruit
Roast: C to C+ has the best fruit; FC has good milky chocolate but less fruit dynamics . Sure, roast it to French - it's an amazing dark roast too.
Compare to: Fantastic dry-processed Ethiopia coffee! Note - Happily this is not a super small lot. We imagine it will sell briskly but, because we have a large supply, we think it will last quite a while on our list.
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Ethiopia Organic DP Idido Misty Valley

Idido Misty Valley is the first true high-quality Dry-processed (DP) Yirga Cheffe coffee I ever experienced, carefully prepared, loaded with strawberry and marmalade fruit notes to an almost intoxicating degree. Maybe I can chalk it up to new experiences, but that first year we found Idido Misty Valley (IMV) and offered it at Sweet Maria's, it was unparalelled. Idido is a town in the Gedeo area of Yirga Cheffe. As you know, the tradition in Yirga Cheffe is wet-processing, whereas Harar has a dry-processing tradition. Wet-processing is the method used in Central America and the like, resulting in a green seed with a cleaner cup profile, and less earthy or rustic cup flavors. Dry-processing involves drying the entire coffee cherry in the sun, and later removing the skin, fruity mucilage layer and protective parchment shell that surrounds the green seed ... all in one fell swoop. Excellent dry-processed coffees are difficult to achieve. The milling method for wet-processing allows for separation of ripe and unripe coffee cherry (and other defective seeds) using water and machines. But in dry-processing, sorting out under-ripes is done visually, either by sorting the ripe cherry, or later, sorting the "green" bean. (You probably know from experience with Harar and the like that the dry-processed green bean is in fact yellow, partly because it has more of the silverskin, the chaff, still attached to it). The problem in Ethiopia is this: traditional dry-processed coffee is NOT pre-sorted to include only ripe red coffee cherry and it is sun-dried in a rather haphazard fashion. IMV has changed that. The difference with this lot is night and day; IMV originates with ripe cherry, is uniformaly screen-dried in the sun, and has been dry-milled using the same screen and density-sorting techniques as wet-processed lots. And the result is amazing: it is both a traditional "moka" type coffee flavor (chocolate and fruit) with Yirga Cheffe accents (floral, citrus) and no distracting, overly-earthy notes. Given that, the darker roasts (FC+, Vienna) are surprisingly pungent, with a intense tobacco aromatic, dark chocolate roast taste, and tannic grape skin notes in the background. But it is the City+ roast where the cup has intense sweetness, and liveliness. The dry fragrance is honeyed, with strawberry and cherry fruit notes, and vanilla. Add water and the sweetness becomes sharper, and sweet mango fruit aromas emerge, with floral and citric hints. Cup flavors are like fruit candy, like marmalade, apricot preserves, and strawberry. There are tropical fruits, and sweet orange, and citrus flowers. Unlike light roasts of other dry-processed Ethiopias, there is a noticeable refinement and clarity to the finish of the Idido Misty Valley cup.





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Heirloom typica coffee leaves in Ethiopia; photo from last season.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 1
Region: Idido, Gedeo Zone Yirga Cheffe
Processing: Screen Dry-Processed
Arrival Date: November 2008 Arrival
Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Varietal: Longberry and shortberry Ethiopia cultivars
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Clean, bright, floral and fruited cup
Roast: City+ is where you will experience the most here. FC to FC+ develops more chocolate notes, and heavier body, with some loss of the beautiful strawberry flavors.
Compare to: A fantastic dry-processed Ethiopia with remarkable clarity in the cup flavors. Note that this is the true and original IMV, since many other exporters are now offering DP Yirga Cheffe, some good, many not. Menno's Misty Valley was the most comparable to true IMV.
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Ethiopia Kembata Grade 4 Dry-Process

Kembata a zone referred to as KAT (Kembata Alaba and Tembaro) and is in the attractively-named state of Ethiopian Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) in South Ethiopia. Now that we have all the acronyms out of the way, Kembata coffees have been sold as Sidamo dry-process, which is marginally correct, and the name is related to the Kambaata people and language of the area. There are three main centers in the area, the towns of Durame, Alaba Kulito and Shinshicho, and the general range of altitudes is 1700 - 2200 meters, perfect for coffee. Local landmarks include the three mountains of Ambaricho, Kataa, and Datoo, and the hot springs at Motokoma. The coffee is "garden-grown" on small plots, as the cash crop, alongside sustenance crops like beans and corn. There's a mix of longberry and shortberry heirloom Ethiopia varietals used. What impressed me about this coffee was the clean character, and uniformity from cup-to-cup. All Ethiopian dry-processed coffees are going to have variability. It's just part of the sun-dried coffee process where whole cherry is sun-dried, then the whole husk and parchment is removed in one step, and all defective coffee seeds are removed by visual sorting. That means a few decent-looking seeds will make it through the process that are indeed a bit over-ripe or under-ripe. After you roast you can cull out any really, really light-colored seeds after roasting, but don't be too overzealous. Back to the cup: the dry fragrance has a lemon-blossom sweetness, caramel and hazelnut roast tone at City+ level. Add water, and the wet aromatics have dried peach fruit scents, tamarind, and lemon rind. The rindy citrus quality comes through in the cup, as well as intense, honey-sweetened lemonade. There's a blend of spice, canela (Mexican cinnamon stick) predominates. There's a little honeydew melon, and a winey accent to the fruit in the long aftertaste. There is Brazil nut roast tone, as well as drying cocoa powder finish. As it cools, the chocolate shifts, and the aftertaste is more intense, like baker's chocolate.





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Sorting dry-process coffee by hand, the last step before bagging for export.
Country: Ethiopia
Grade: 4
Region: Sidamo
Processing: Dry-processed
Arrival Date: October 2008 Arrival
Appearance: 2 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen
Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Rustic, spiced, fruited
Roast: Full City to FC+ roast is best: I like a more developed roast taste and a dense, almost creamy body.
Compare to: A rustic and raw dry-processed coffee, not for those who want cleanliness and uniformity in their roasting and tasting.
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