This lot of Aricha is remarkable, with a berry syrup fruit character, cinnamon toast, pineapple and ripe citrus brightness, and a sweet butter finish. With a darker roast treatment there are black currants and blueberry notes that emerge, with a drinking cocoa finish at Full City level. This coffee works at a wide range of levels from City to Full City, but the brighter jam-like fruited sweetness is going to be found at C+ level.
This coffee works at a wide range of levels from City to Full City + or darker, but the brighter jam-like fruited sweetness is going to be found with a well-developed lighter roast, around City+, and well before the coffee enters 2nd crack. That said, we loved FC roast too.
This is our selection from one station in the Aricha kebele in the Yirga Cheffe area. There are two coffee stations in close proximity here, and Koke is just up the road, very close to Yirga Cheffe town. The great thing with Aricha is Sweet Maria's has first selection of coffee from here, so I was able to choose this juicy lot while cupping in Ethiopia back in January. There's other Aricha coffee (it is an area east of Yirga Cheffe town, so I suppose a lot of coffees can borrow the name). But this is the actual Aricha station, and this is the nicest lot I could find from here ...and it is very, very nice. It's a dry-processed coffee with intense fruited character, body and sweetness, and has received extra care in preparation (Grade 1) to exclude under-ripe coffee cherries. Dry-processing means that the coffee was not pulped (the outer skin removed) and fermented to remove the fruity mucilage layer. In dry processing, the coffee cherry is picked and laid out in raised "beds" in the sun, turning the red fruit to a deep brown color over the course of two weeks. After a storage period, the coffee seed is hulled out in one step, removing all the dried skin, fruit and parchment layers at the same time. The Aricha was prepared to the standards for Grade 1, which means removing over-ripe and under-ripe cherries that can be seen in the final green coffee as with either shiny green silverskin coating the bean, or fermenty sour beans. This extra work improves the overall cup quality and consistency in roasting.
This is a very fragrant coffee! It's a coffee you can smell throughout the house when you grind it. The fragrance has strong fruit scents of tropical flowers, passion fruit, dried peaches and mango, as well as mixed berry fruit salad. The sweetness has dried apricot, custard and caramel. Adding hot water, the aromas are in the same vein, intense fruits and strong sweetness; lychee, berries, stone fruits, candied almonds. The cup is remarkable, with a berry syrup fruit character, cinnamon toast, pineapple and ripe citrus brightness, and a sweet butter finish. With a darker roast treatment there are black currants and blueberry notes that emerge, with a drinking cocoa finish at Full City level. The list of flavors we had from our test samples is too long to list; it's a complex coffee that inspires many, many descriptors. The general groupings involved syrupy fruited flavors, complex sugar-browning sweetness, some pleasantly bittering cocoa notes.. It's a fantastic cup if you like fruited dry-processed coffees.