Guji Akrabi shows floral intensity in aroma and cup, giving way to sweet fruits and soft citrus notes as the cup cools. Citric acidity that is near sparkling, and muscovado sugar sweetness long into the finish. City to City+. Full City works well for espresso application.
Unfortunately, we don't know a whole lot about the specific origin of this Sidama coffee. "Akrabi" are coffee traders in the Ethiopian language of Ahmaric, which seems appropriate for a coffee that is traded through the Ethiopia Commodities Exchange (ECX). It's one of only a few purchases we made through the ECX this year, and because of this, most provenance is stripped before the coffee hits the market. Basically all farmers that are not part of a cooperative submit their coffee to the exchange where it is first graded, and then sold in tiers based off that graded category. One major problem with this is that in an effort to unify a price structure, washing station and even town information is often stripped away. For the buyers, this makes it difficult to uniquely market these coffees (though there is work underway to implement "Geo Certification" program that will track station location to some degree). But if our focus is buying great coffee, it seems silly to resist an amazing coffee just because we don't have a "story" to attach to it. And with the ECX we know the exact price paid to farmers for the grade we purchase, and they are paid quickly - not always so with intermediaries (intermediaries often use a second, much later payment as a way of rewarding for quality long after the coffee is sold). And so it is at this intersection of quality and transparency that we are able to buy this coffee, confident that the farmers were paid fairly and quickly for this top graded coffee.
Bold sugar notes, fresh florals, and clean fruited flavors are what this Sidama is all about. Floral aspects play a large role from aroma to cup, and the finish is clean like a iced herbal tea. The fresh grounds of a City roast smell like lavender, raw sugar, and a touch of honey. With hot water the florals are intense, you can smell them from across the room. Sugar notes smell caramelized and hefty on the break, and there's a smell of pear compote, especially in the steam when breaking through the crust. We've roasted this coffee a few times now, ranging from City to just about Full City, and its complex nature holds up, but roast flavors tend to take focus as you near FC. The cup is laden with unrefined sugars and florals, like muscovado sugar and lilac. The middle is filled out with sweet fruits, and soft citrus notes. City/City+ will show the widest array of fruits, and my preferred roast for brewed coffee, with citric acidity that sparkles. As I said earlier, deeper roasts trade brightness for developed sweetness and roast flavor, not a bad thing at all, just a different experience. We gave this latter roast a run through the espresso machine and the results were intense - long smokey sweetness, blueberry, jasmine, and much more chocolate that I imagined.