Florals sit high in the profile, fruited accents, with an array of unrefined sugar sweetness: rice syrup, demurara, and even palm sugar. Oily body sits heavy on the palette. City to Full City. Good for espresso.
This lot of Yeki coffee comes to us via the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX), the government trading system set up to connect non-cooperative farm members to the global coffee market. We've discussed one downside of this system, which is that we have little idea where the coffees coming out of the ECX originated. We do know that this is from the Yeki Woreda in the Sheka Zone, not far from Sidamo. Other than that, the station specific info is wiped clear upon delivery. After the cherry is purchased from the farmer, it's graded, blended, and sold off. But this isn't such a bad thing, at least in this case. I mean, we do love a good story, but in the case of Ethiopia, a collector system dominates, one where hundreds of farmers are delivering coffee to either cooperatives, Unions, or the ECX, where they all grade and blend by region, and sell it with names referring to region, washing station, or simply grade (like the ECX - in this case "Q2" ). With each of these systems the individual farmer is hardly in the actual "picture", and most of the focus is put on the organizations they deal with. In the case of the ECX, it's a very straight-forward system, and one where farmers are paid cash upon delivery. For many farmers, this is a good thing, as they're able to immediately reinvest. And for us as buyers, we know how much money the contributing farmers paid were for this particular grade of coffee - it's all very transparent. This coffee story is much less romantic than those involving farm visits, family dinners, and the like. But the common thread lies in the confidence we have that the premium we paid was included in the payment these farmers received. Oh, and the other commonality is that we purchased this lot because it's of the "top shelf" variety!
Yeki is an impressive and unique Ethiopian coffee, cookie-like sweetness with articulate floral highlights, and unexpected heavy body that weighs heavy on the tongue. The dry fragrance is perfumed with floral appeal, like jasmine flowers, and a buttery-sugar sweetness, reminding me of oatmeal cookie dough. The wet aromatics give off what I consider to be "classic" Yirga Cheffe smells: jasmine and bergamot tea, raw sugar sweetness, and ever-so-slight fruited highlights. The aromatic elements are on the delicate side, quite the opposite reaction I have to the brewed coffee. When hot, the florals sit high in the profile, atop a undercurrent of demurara sugar sweetness. Body is apparent too, even on the oily side, 'inky' in physical weight. This aspect becomes more and more apparent as the coffee cools, pushing the overall profile into "bold" territory. I know, we don't use that term because it's a bit difficult to define really. I'm using it here to describe the way the flavors settle on your tongue. The thick liquid assists a raw, somewhat rustic sugar sweetness in finding it's way around your tongue, leaving impressions of rice syrup and berry compote to linger long into the aftertaste. The brewed coffee is intense from City to Full City roasts, cooling cups showcasing a wide range of sweetness, from the unrefined, molasses-type to rustic appeal of rice syrup and palm sugar.