Here we have our last of the ECX coffees we brought in this year. And we definitely saved the best for last. We don't usually pick much coffee up that's handled through the Commodity Exchange (this year we picked up 3), but the quality of this particular lot is so high that, in my opinion, it would have been foolish to turn it away. We listed a lot earlier this season as "Gedeo" too, but this is not the same coffee - just a fairly generic name for the zone in which Yirga Cheffe resides. If you don't already know, the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange was set up in an effort to help bring single farm lots to a market where they were rewarded for overall cup quality. The coffee is graded by employees at ECX, and while ranking coffee by overall quality is an effective means of determining price (in the past, origin is as much the price determiner as quality - "Yirga Cheffe", "Sidama", etc), it's been taken to such an extreme where provenance is stripped altogether. So then we're stuck with amazing coffee (not a bad thing) and no real way of knowing where it came from. It's frustrating, and makes repeatability non-existent. But, we're fortunate to have plenty of Ethiopian coffee that comes straight from Cooperatives, which are exempt from ECX regulations, and who we work with year after year. So picking up one or two lots based purely on quality makes sense. And we feel extremely lucky with this lot, as the quality is of the highest level.
This coffee screams "Yirga Cheffe". It's floral
, bright, and sweet
, and with loads of fruit flavors that change dramatically in the cooling cup. Tropical fruits dominate the dry fragrance
of both light and dark roasts. City+ roasts have passion fruit, jasmine
, kumquat, and honey. Full City is syrupy sweet with a heavy grapefruit along with a candied peach smell. This set of scents just gets stronger when adding hot water, and a heavy mix of fresh flowers, guava
nectar, and deep sugar browning hangs in the air. The smell of the steam on the break
is like blackberry
syrup, saturated and thick with sweetness. This is one amazing cup of coffee. The fruits are lively, the sweetness is like pure honey, and the finish
is pristine. Light roasts have a rindyness to them, like Bergamot citrus
, leaving behind a sort of mouth clensing feel - similar to the mouth sensation of spearmint. So nice and refreshing. Flavors of toasted sugar and elderberry tea intermingle and there's a slight piquant
aspect to the acidity that is tart and crisp
. There is a flavor of tenedon herb - a traditional fresh herb used during coffee ceremonies in Ethiopia, It's added to the coffee and adds a strong
floral/spice element. The flavors shift toward ginger snap cookies, citrus like tangerine and satsuma orange, as well as jasmine flower when the cup cools off a bit. Our full City roast
held on to much of the profile described above, but acidity drops down a notch and the fruits are a little more on the tropical side of things. The overall sweetness of this coffee remains uncompromised between City and Full City roast levels, but I think I'd stay far away from 2nd crack
as to not stunt this coffee's flavor potential.