Introduction by Chris Kornman
Daniel Miju is a septuagenarian coffee farmer and native of the Worka kebele of Gedeb. Miju’s experience farming precedes his involvement as a founding member of the Worka cooperative in 2006 by nearly three decades, having inherited his 15 hectare farm in 1978 (the same year Royal was founded). He has surrounded himself with a large and supportive family, many of whom still live locally and assist with the annual harvest.
His farm was selected as a model example in 2014 for the cooperative, and although his coffee is sold through the centralized ECX auction system, this lot is fully traceable through the partnership Royal has established with the YCFCU (the umbrella Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union covering coops in the Gedeo Zone) to highlight single farmer lots. While not unheard of, it’s exceedingly uncommon to find a single-farmer lot from Ethiopia, so Miju’s coffee presents a unique opportunity to taste a very specific regional terroir.
The Worka cooperative is located in the district of Gedeb, which lies to the south of Yirgacheffe town, each of which fall under the umbrella of the Gedeo zone, one of the smaller administrative divisions in the vast Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Ethnic Region of Ethiopia. Gedeo receives its name from the ethnic majority in the region, and shares a border to the north with the much larger Sidama zone, and is surrounded on the East, South, and West by the Oromia Region, currently plunged into political turmoil.
Drying coffee in the cherry, as Daniel Miju has done with his coffee here, is the original tradition in Ethiopia. Coffee is not just a cash crop; it’s a way of life. Ethiopian coffee culture runs deep even in the rural farmlands, and it’s entirely common to see a day’s harvest from a small private coffee garden drying in the cherry on a porch or patio. Ethiopia is among the only producing countries where coffee farmers roast and brew their own harvest.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
In many ways, Daniel Miju’s coffee mirrors the green prep of similar single-farmer lots we’ve featured lately, mostly from the Worka cooperative. Using newer selections of heirloom varieties, Miju has grown a dense coffee which has been neatly sorted down to mostly 14-16 screen size and dried to a very friendly looking 10.2% moisture content.
Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca
A very clean coffee with a mild, but lovely acidity. Our first roast, PR-399, had a quick start with a lot of heat and then transformed into a more evenly roasted profile as it made its way towards first crack. Our second roast, PR-400 was just the opposite with a longer drying period and an aggressive progression to first crack through the Maillard reactions. Both roasts displayed a nice malic acidity with notes of pear, green apple, lime, cherry, and honey. A very crisp and focused coffee that is friendly in the drum.
Brew Analysis by Evan Gilman
We found Daniel Miju’s coffee to be expressive and enjoyable, especially the PR-399 roast. Incredibly soluble, this coffee is bound to please even the most picky of the Ethiopian coffee lovers. Everything from gentle malic acid (showing up as a crisp pear flavor) to vibrant citrus and berry was in fine form here. The finish brought on some definite florals; I don’t often note a coffee as having a lavender floral, but the descriptor is very apt in this case.
Excellent coffee, by any standard. Hard to go wrong with this one!