Elton Farm is is a family run operation in Mbozi District, Mbeya highlands. The family acquired the farm in 2006 and along with working the farm themselves, they hire around 50 employees during harvest time to help pick coffee. The farm is planted in two cultivars, a local Bourbon type called N39, as well as Mazabuko, a cultivar from Zambia. Elton Farm produces mostly traditional wet processed coffees; that is using the practice of fermentation to remove the sticky mucilage layer before drying on raised drying beds. This year they decided to try a dry process process, where the whole cherry is laid to dry for around 30 days, before being removed from the seed/bean by dry milling machinery. The result is a much more fruit-forward cup, big body, and muted acidity. Not everyone who tries their hand at dry processing is successful, the results heavily reliant on factors out of their control, like weather, which determines how long it takes to dry a coffee. Thankfully the climate at Elton Farm is conducive to natural processing, and cupping the coffee from their trial run is a testament to their success.
Ripe to rustic fruit tones are apparent in the dry grounds, not surprising given this is a dry processed coffee. "Fruit forward" applies here, and this coffee is a candidate for those who enjoy classic dry processed Harrar from Ethiopia. It has a bittersweet core, which will be more of a focus in dark roasting. But in the City+ to Full City roast range, Elton Farm shows aromatics of ripe berries, rustic sweetness of prune and date, and cup flavors of dark stone fruits. Our City+ roast showed a solid dark cacao base flavor, infused with a flavor of ripe blackberry juice edging toward winey in the finish. Middle roasts are ideal in my opinion, and City+/Full City cups have complex accents of leather and fresh cut cedar. While I won't recommend this for espresso on it's own (I don't think it will have wide appeal, though I enjoy the strong berry flavors in a shot), I mixed 1/3 of this coffee with 2/3 of a Brazil Dry Process with great espresso results.