This is a coffee from a remote area of the Sidamo district, quite far from where most Sidamo coffees originate. In fact, it is mostly known for the large gold mine in the area, and sadly the local tensions between mine workers and farmers becomes open conflict. The area of Shakisso is on the Guji zone, and when I was in Ethiopia in December, the local conflict made travel there unsafe. Nonetheless, we met the farmer who produces this coffee, Haile Gebre, in Yirg Alem, and we were able get a sample to cup some of this new crop Maduro lot, in anticipation of the following harvest. Maduro? This is a dry-process coffee where extra care has been directed toward harvesting only crimson-purple coffee cherries, a deeper red than the picking point for most coffee fruit. Maduro means mature in Spanish, and I am not sure how that name was adopted for and Ethiopia coffee, but that is the one Senor Gebre chose.This coffee is part of our Farm Gate pricing program.
Everything about the sensorial analysis of this coffee becomes an object lesson about the effect of coffee cherry ripeness. The dry fragrance offers an explosive, room-filling scent of plum, melon and spice. The wet aromatic has hibiscus-rose potpourri, spiced apple cider, cinnamon bark, clove, and muscavado sugar. There is a whiff of raw cocoa nibs on the break. There is a range of cup flavorsdepending on roast level, but all follow the same general path, a route described by ripe fruits, a "hushed" acidity (deep-toned acidity as a direct result of mature coffee cherry), winey character, heavy body. City+ to Full City was where the flavors converged. At this roast, the cup is so remarkably sweet, it might even become cloying for some; it is a dessert coffee for sure. Flame grape, plum (with a little plum skins), melon-like ripeness, Syrah; these are some good descriptors for initial cup flavors ... but the list could be much more extensive. Spiced chocolate comes in the finish, like Ibarra Mexican hot chocolate, with clove, nutmeg and cinnamon stick accents, raw sugar panela, butterscotch rum candy. The body seems juicy and fatty as well, coating the mouth and leading to a long aftertaste. If we call your standard dry-process coffees "natural", this might be referred to as "neo-natural". It's a 90+ coffee easily for anyone who loves this flavor profile, but perhaps taboo to those who are strict washed coffee enthusiasts.
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