The Duromina Cooperative delivers standout Ethiopian coffee every single year, and it's a real pleasure to be able to offe itr to our decaf drinkers for the first time. That's the beauty of sending your own coffees off to be decaffeinated, we get to select coffees we're familiar with beforehand, in this case one that more than holds it's own as non-decaf. "Decaf" conjures memories of coffee flavored drink, a pale example, poor representation of what coffee's supposed to taste like, roasted to a crisp as to obfuscate the flavors that come with the decaffeination process. Thankfully, this is a thing of the past. The Swiss Water decaf method involves nothing more than water, first swelling the beans to become pourous, then washing away 99.9% of the caffeine before drying back to 11% moisture. This is a very gentle method compared to decafs of yore, and leaves much of the volatile compounds that affect flavor and aroma intact. Send a floral, fruit-forward regular coffee to Swiss, and get a floral, fruit-forward decaf in return! A little about the coop: Duromina was formed with the help of a non-government organization that not only coordinated agronomists and managers for each of the coops they work with, but also had a business adviser assigned that helped the cooperative manage their debt, re-invest in quality improvements at the mill, and verifies distribution of income to all members. They've since "graduated" from the NGO program and now operate independently with the oversight of various farmer-member leadership groups (for the past two years now). Duromina is in the Goma region of Agaro Woreda, with farm altitudes between 1900 to 2100 meters. The name, chosen by the farmers, has quite a straight-forward meaning: it roughly translates as "Make More Money!" With the solid price we pay the cooperative for their best lots, and their success reinvesting in the Goma area, the name has proved quite appropriate. NPR did an interesting audio piece on this coop: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/07/22/202969075/ETHIOPIAN-COFFEE-CINDERALLA-STORY
As decaf, Duromina has much to celebrate. We always talk about how the gentle water decaffeination process that Swiss Water eploys leaves much of a coffee's original flavor matrix intact, and Duromina is exemplary of this sentiment. Grinding a City roast let off a surprising level of raw sugar and fruit sweetness, berry and tea notes, and a whiff of cinnamon-raisin toast. The wet aroma is intense, some bittersweet grain-like smells that remind me this is decaf, but the steam coming off the wetted crust is loaded with peach muffin smells, cocoa powder accents on the steam. The cup is so caramely sweet, and it isn't until very cool that the decaf undertones come into view, however never dominant, and a rindy acidity tends to direct your focus. Layers of caramelized sugar sweetness underscore the cup at City and City+, and stone fruit notes build strength, as does a flavor of milk chocolate (especially in the finish). Accents of fleshy fruits, and a lavender hint mark the cooling cup, and chocolate covered wafer cookie in the long aftertaste. Hands down one of our favorite decafs we've tasted in a while now.