Dried mango, peach and tamarind aromatics. Light roasts taste like peach tea, with good body, and a spicy cinnamon note. Darker roasts have more rustic chocolate character. Roasts evenly with very relatively few quakers improving the flavor and finish. City+ to Full City+.
The sweet spot here is at Full City. The fruited notes are muted a bit at this roast stage. City+ has less body and balance, but higher-toned fruits. Remember, this is dry-processed natural Harar, so expect some unevenness in roast color, and 1-2 beans that "resist the roast" and should be culled out.
Harar is the wild cousin of Ethiopian coffee. It originates in the Hararghe district in Eastern Ethiopia, the area with the ancient city of Harar serving as symbolic capital and cultural center for the Harare people. Harar is alone in terms of geography, culture, and (sometimes) cup quality. Harar is a dry-processed coffee, the simple, rustic method where the ripe red coffee cherry is picked from the tree and laid in the sun to dry. It turns raisin-brown, then dries so the hard shell of fruit skin, mucilage and parchment shell can be torn from the green seed in one step. The result is wild cup flavors, fruited, chocolate, spice, and thick body. But since it is such a crude process, there is little mechanized intervention in terms of quality control: no machine screening, density sorting, electronic color sorting. Everything is done with the eye and the hand, as coffee is winnowed in baskets, under-ripes, broken beans, black beans, fermented beans, all removed visually in countless hours of work. It's even hulled out of its husk by hand, pounded in a wooden mortar rather than by machine. It's a human-sorting system that makes up in character what it lacks in perfection. So Harar is a bit of a crapshoot too. Each roast has some light "quaker" beans in it; each batch roasts a little different, cups out with different flavors. It's the nature of the type. But in recent years the quality has been uniformly bad, mostly due to changing weather patterns. But we felt this lot had some of the classic "Moka" character, chocolate roast tones laced with fruit.
This is a selection from the ECX auction, so we don't knwo the exact producer group. It is from East Harar, where they higher grown longberry coffee originates. The dry fragrance is fruited, with distinct dried mango and tamarind scents, and light cocoa powder notes as well. The wet aromatics are a bit winey-fruity, spicy, with fresh ginger and some clean earth hints. The cup flavors are classic Harar all the way. The light City to City+ roasts has peach tea, and lots of dry mango. It has good body, and finishes with a spicy-woody cinnamon note. There's always that slight rustic funk to the fruited qualities of Harar. At Full City the dried fruit and tropical note is more tame, with a chocolate roast taste ebbing in. The coffee may not look pretty at these lighter roasts, but it is more lively. I am encouraged by the evenness of the roast - very few quakers means very few under-ripe cherries, which improves the flavor and finish on the cup. There is bean-to-bean unevenness in roast color, hallmark of a natural coffee, but very few actual quakers.