Gole is a small coffee cooperative in the Illubabor district of western Ethiopia, established in 2009. It is not far from the main paved road on the way to Bedele town, and just up the road from another cooperative we have bought from for years, Camp. I measured the altitude at 2000 meters on my last visit to Gole early in the harvest, but most of the coffee comes from farms in higher areas. This lot of Gole (pronounced "Goal-Ay") is part of an initiative we became involved with in Ethiopia four years ago, in order to work direct at the coop level. The program is administered by a non-government organization that not only coordinates agronomists and managers for each of the coops they work with, but also has a business adviser assigned that helps the cooperative manage their debt, re-invest in quality improvements at the mill, and verifies distribution of income to all members.
This is lot from Gole has layered fruits throughout the entire experience with an undercurrent of toasted sugar, carrying sweetness through to the finish. The dry fragrance has intense fruited notes of dried peaches and orange peel. You'll find that light roasts have a nice dark caramel smell to them as well. Adding hot water brings this sugar browning aspect out - a lot. There's a smell of maple-hued caramel that comes up in heft from the crust, and traces of melon fruit are released on the break. The cup has complex fruited tones, and a unique sweetness in the lighter roast levels that is most reminiscent of marshmallows. There is a veritable fruit salad here: watermelon, honeydew, and peach stand out, with strawberry emerging as the cup cools. But this isn't a "fruity" coffee, where the flavor comes from over-fermentation or other processing errors. It's a succinct and clean fruited taste. In the darker roasts, the sweetness really comes through as black currant and dark berry. The body isn't "thick", but substantial. This is a great highlight coffee, with much to offer brewed and as espresso.