Fruit and spice are the theme of the cup flavors; apricot nectar, mango, papaya, and blood orange, accented by cardamom, and cinnamon stick, light body, milk chocolate with fruited undertones, and more pungent spice character at darker roasts. City+ to Full City+.
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).