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 near impossible to uniquely market these coffees (though there is work underway to implement "Geo Certification" program that will track station location to some degree). So that is why we usually stick with coffee from cooperatives. And also because with cooperatives, we're able to see firsthand how the premium we pay for cherry is being utilized at the coop level. But we also want great coffee, period, and 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). I'm not saying one is better than the other, just that when it comes to keeping the farmer's best interest in mind, needs often change. And so the government exchange presents them with another valuable avenue to sell their coffee, one where much needed cash is immediately obtained and can be reinvested.
Bold sugar notes, fresh florals, and clean fruited flavors are what this Sidama is all about. The floral aspects are huge all the way through from aroma to cup, and the finish is super clean, like a iced herbal tea. The fresh grounds of our City+ roast smelled 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, and there's a baked peach scent too, 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 all along the way. Like the aromatics, the first thing you notice is a strong presence of unrefined sugars and florals, like jasmine and lilac. The middle is filled out with notes of peach, tangerine, honeydew, and ripe kiwi. City/City+ will show the widest array of fruits, and my preferred roast for brewed coffee, with acidity that sparkles. While still complex, closer to Full City there's less focus on fresh fruits, and more strength in developed sugar flavors and with some fruit tea notes. Not a bad thing at all, just a different experience. One aspect that doesn't quit though, are the bold florals, even at Full City. We gave this latter roast a run through the espresso machine and were floored with the results - long sweetness, blueberry, jasmine, and much more chocolate that I imagined!