Introduction by Chris Kornman
35893 – ETHIOPIA YIRGACHEFFE 2 FTO ADAME GORBOTA LOT 002 GRAINPRO arrives in the midst of a whirlwind season, alongside so many other coffees swept in on the winds from Central America or East Africa after harvesting during the Northern Hemisphere’s winter months. Yet, there’s something special about this delightful offering from the famed Yirgacheffe town. Its intensely floral aroma captured our attention, its delightful peach tea flavors held our palates hostage, but the story behind the little cooperative, hidden amongst the more familiar names in the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union (YCFCU), is what continues to captivate our interest.
Founded in the mid 1970’s originally as the “Kelo” cooperative, the membership enjoyed a successful bid in the 2006 Africa Taste of Harvest competition, taking home the prize for top coffee. The success was short lived however, as a few of the members were granted large bank loans in the wake of the winning harvest, on which they defaulted. Left on the line for the debt and with families to feed and coffees yet to harvest, the remaining membership redoubled their efforts and paid down their outstanding debts, rejoining the YCFCU by 2011. As a result of their history, the group remains among the smallest and most tight-knit cooperatives in Yirgacheffe.
Recognizing both the penchant for hard work and the ensuing exceptional coffees, Royal prefinances Adame Gorbota each season, and takes first pick of their coffees. We buy the bulk of their harvest each season and are proud and delighted to offer 35893 – ETHIOPIA YIRGACHEFFE 2 FTO ADAME GORBOTA LOT 002 GRAINPRO as a refreshing and delicious glimpse of their endeavors.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
This is a clean, fresh coffee with a pretty small screen size and an above-average density. It’s a touch on the dry side, but that’s not uncommon for washed Ethiopias. The combination of high density and low moisture might prove a little tricky in the roasting drum, so be sure to check out Jen’s tips below.
Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca
My first roast of the 35893 – ETHIOPIA YIRGACHEFFE 2 FTO ADAME GORBOTA LOT 002 GRAINPRO was instrumental in helping me understand how this very dense coffee would react in the drum. With a charge temperature of 378.4 °F and a low heat application, I waited to make my first heat adjustment until the rate of rise dropped to +10 °F per 30 seconds, a rate that I wanted to maintain until first crack. This occurred just after the Maillard Reaction began which is perfectly normal for most coffees I roast on the Probatino. What I did not foresee was how the density of this coffee really bottomed out the temperature and momentum during first crack and extended my development time longer than I had wanted.
On my second roast, PR- 0205, I started with more energy by increasing the charge temperature and more heat which shortened the drying stage compared to my first roast PR-0204. During the Maillard Reaction I slowly increased my heat, while watching my rate of rise closely, making sure it did not increase too rapidly and race off to an early first crack. Coffees that are dense and of a smaller screen size tend to take more time to release steam after first crack and can delay a roast for what can feel like an eternity. During my entire roasting career, I had always been advised to decrease the heat after first crack. During this time the coffee seed becomes less pliable and more brittle and affected by the hot air in the drum as well as the seeds own exothermic output.
In the case of our Adame Gorbota, our first roast, PR-0204, took 1:15 before the temperature on the bean probe registered a significant trend in the increase of the rate of rise. The total Post Crack Development time was 2:45 which is a rather long time for such a light roast with a low end temperature of 414.9 °F. Wanting to decrease the total PCD time in my second roast, I decided to go against what I had been taught and I steadily increased the heat in small increments after first crack. The results were that I was able to shave off a full 30 seconds of steam time and reach my intended end temperature of 419.0 °F in under two minutes. Both roasts were well-received and produced almost identical flavor profiles on the cupping table, but in the words of my colleague Chris, our second roast: PR-0205 was, “nearly identical to PR-204 but turned up the volume to 11.”
Brew Analysis by Evan Gilman
It’s always a distinct pleasure to brew washed Ethiopian coffees. The 35893 – ETHIOPIA YIRGACHEFFE 2 FTO ADAME GORBOTA LOT 002 GRAINPRO is no exception. Whether it was through a paper filter or a porous metal filter, this coffee performed wonderfully.
For all Chemex extractions, the coffee was ground at 7.5 on a Mahlkonig EK43 and sifted through a 250 micron sieve. As you can see from the tables below, the extractions in the porous metal ‘Kone’ filter were quite rapid, with the water draining through the grounds almost immediately. We can see just how much resistance a paper filter puts up, as extractions were twice as long through the paper Chemex filters as they were through the ‘Kone.’ A measured, slow, and precise pour is absolutely necessary when using porous metal filters. You can see that my pour with PR-205 has a much slower flow rate (as I was attempting to get the longest extraction possible); nevertheless, all of these pours were absolutely delicious. I tended to favor PR-205 for a slightly more tart and distinguished character, redolent of hibiscus, dark cherry, and confectioner’s sugar.
All that being said, my absolute favorite method of preparation for this coffee was espresso. The Adame Gorbota is admittedly a finicky coffee to dial in, but once I found the sweet spot I was very sweetly rewarded indeed. My preparations listed below is reflective of preparation using a La Marzocco GS3, bottomless portafilters with 17g baskets, a Mazzer Kony-E grinder, and filtered water. Coffee was aged 7 days before brewing.
While I preferred PR-205 once again, PR-204 held so much sweetness it was nearly syrupy. My first extraction had huge body, as well as tart limey acidity and a sweet oatmeal cookie finish, all dominated by florals and fresh fruit. My second extraction of PR-204 was slightly more voluminous, but I don’t recommend taking this coffee over a 1:2 ratio in less than 24 seconds, as this extraction was verging on astringent.
I tried to take PR-205 to the opposite end of the acceptable extraction spectrum, which was admittedly quite narrow for this coffee. My first extraction was so good, I repeated it a few times for my coworkers who happened to be in the cupping room (it pays to be in the right place at the right time!); they were not offended. My second listed extraction was certainly more syrupy for its larger dose, but verged on the cloyingly sweet.
I recommend low doses, relatively coarse grind settings, and slightly lower brewing temperatures (92C/198F) for this coffee. The 35893 – ETHIOPIA YIRGACHEFFE 2 FTO ADAME GORBOTA LOT 002 GRAINPRO is proof positive that perseverance is usually sweetly rewarded in the brewer, in the roaster, and in the field.