There were a few coffees from ECX this year that we just couldn't pass up. It's difficult to fill out our lists by exclusively dealing with cooperatives, and even with the availability of privates, we still find ourselves on the hunt for more. This is one of a couple lots we picked up through the auction system that cupped absolutely fantastic. As a matter of fact, this is the highest scoring Ethiopia of the year for us (94!). "Janbar" means "sun" in Amharic, and these bags came in with the name "Sunny Yirga Cheffe". I like the way that sounds - sunny, light, bright - kinda like this coffee cups! Plus it's a dry process coffee, so it makes sense. We do know it's from Yirga Cheffe, which helps, but washing station information is stripped upon submitting their coffees (there's been work on a "Geo-Certification" program, where station info could be tracked for each lot - but that's still in trial stages). That is one problem with the ECX. But a couple benefits of using this route is that you know the farmers who submitted this Grade 1 separation were paid accordingly, rewarded for the high quality - and paid up front - all very traceable. This is key for many farmers as often sales through cooperatives involve an initial payment, and then second payment once the coffee is sold. Having cash up front is useful for many things, reinvestment in farming needs notwithstanding. Janbar is an absolute killer on the table. And if you like 'wild' espresso, give Full City roasts a whirl.
Janbar is a true powerhouse on the cupping table. For fans of natural-processed coffees, it fits the definition of 'special' in every way. Uniquely sweet, ripe fruit flavors are only the beginning of what the cup has to offer. The fragrance allures, ripe citrus, berry candies (reminds me of strawberry Starburst), and subtle jasmine florals. It's intense to say the least, a bit winey and quite nice! Adding hot water brings on a great floral/passion fruit smell, tropical, and tinted with citrus and raspberry. And the break lets off "bold", fruit juice sweetness. The cup shines from City to Full City roast levels, and our lightest roast showed a jamaica tea flavor and tartness, along with raspberry and lychee fruit accents, and surprisingly clear jasmine floral grace note. So much is revealed in the cup as this coffee cools, and our descriptors really stacked up. Deeper roasting constructs a syrupy chocolate base, which comes off like berry chocolate ganache, so rich and bittersweet. Flavors come with clean expression, lacking "process" flavors that are often found in naturals, overripe, souring ferment and such. At City body is medium, and this aspect builds with roast level. City+ and Full City are very juicy, and the darker end of this spectrum will make for a pretty crazy espresso - outlier for sure, but sweet, with a very fruited dark chocolate flavor.