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.