This is a wet-process lot from Shakiso, in the Guji district of south eastern Ethiopia. It is from a unique coffee producer; a private farm and coffee mill in a land of few large private farms, but also a "private cooperative" that grouped together and organized surrounding farms to help market their coffee. It is the work of Haile Gebre, his retirement project after he left the government ministry and wanted to return to the coffee area where he grew up. I tried to visit the area a few years ago but there are also mining concerns in the Shakiso area, and they were having labor disputes and civil unrest. I finally made it to the area in 2010 and 2011, as well as earlier this year. I find these washed coffees to be quite different from other wet-process Ethiopias, Sidama or Yirga Cheffe. It is not a bright citric cup, although it certainly has a nice sparkle of acidity in the cup. And it has more body than other wet-process coffees, and intense aromatics and sweetness.
The dry fragrance has a beautiful lemon wafer cookie scent, almond essence, and a floral quality verging on both jasmine tea and peach yogurt. Adding the hot water brings out light caramel sweetness, along with vanilla, lemon icing and kumquat. Our lighter roasts produced kiefer lime, and caramel sauce on the break, while the dark roasts had more of a burned sugar, candied pecan aroma to it. This coffee is loaded with clean fruit with watermelon up front, and red berry, guava, and kumquat mixed in. The floral aspects found in light roasts are that of passion fruit and star jasmine, and dark roasts turn toward concord grape. The cup has a clean, clear sweetness, like a light brown sugar taste, with mild sweet citrus marmalade accent. As it cools a beautiful mandarin orange flavor comes forward, and the mouthfeel goes from being light and unobtrusive, to something more like fruit syrup. It's a charming coffee, more restrained perhaps than other Ethiopia lots, but it certainly grows on you with each sip. I love this coffee as an aromatic and brightness component of espresso, or as SO espresso by itself.