This custom Swiss Water decaf is made up from two different cooperatives in the Limu Inara area of Ethiopia. In comparison to many other coops I've visited, Tencho is a real stand out: everything at Tencho is done with a little more care, and a little more organization. When the process machinery is is well-maintained, fermentation tanks for wet-processing are in good repair, and the water source is pure, warehouse and lot separation are clean and sound, it matters. Everything I saw at Tencho hinted at orderliness and I knew their quality would be good, even if the site is a couple hundered meters lower than some others in the area. The other cooperative, Kecho Tirtira, has the advantage of serving as a catchment for the highlands that surround it so access to the higher altitude farms. Coffee farmers are in the 1900-2000 meter band, while the Kecho station is situated at around 1850 meters itself. The coop has made significant advances in the way they are wet-processing and drying the coffee, which were evidenced on my last visit. Both of these coffees are organically certified pre-decaf, however, we did not retain this certification at the decaffeination stage. In terms of identifying roast level, I found this coffee to be fairly easy in the roaster. 1st crack was much louder than some other decafs we've had, and the surface color for City+ roasts looks pretty even in shade. You can expect some fracturing in the green coffee which is a result of going into the decaffeination process with a lower initial moisture content (around 9%). This is totally normal for Ethiopian coffees, and doesn't degrade the resulting cup whatsoever.
This Limu decaf gives off hints of characteristics typical for this origin. The dry fragrance has potent smells of raw sugar, and steeped green tea, with berry accents. Our CIty+ roast showed a pungency, like burning sugar in a pan, with a cinnamon top note. Wet aromatics take on a similar set of smells, unrefined sugar, roasted barley tea, and a caramel accent. The cup has a surprising honey sweetness, along with a grain-like flavor, together reminding me of sweetened Chex cereal. Fruit flavors start show as the cup cools, especially in the City+/Full City roasts, peach and apricot, apple cider. This is one sweet decaf, holding up at Full City too, and will probably withstand the beginnings of 2nd crack. Full City roasts offer a healthy dose of dark chocolate bittersweetness too, which bodes well with hefty body. If you're looking for a decaf espresso, this is a worthy candidate. The mouthfeel of our Full City roast was so viscous, conveying earthy dark cocoa flavors, along with flashes of cooked fruit.