This coffee is sourced from family owned farms living near Hambela Wamena woreda, located somewhere in the ill-defined borderlands between the Sidama and Guji Zones in Southern Ethiopia. Regions have been drawn and redrawn, and names of districts and neighborhoods have changed multiple times in the last two decades (further complicated by non-standardized transliteration from local languages). Honing in on the particulars of a region can be tricky. Fortunately, we were able to hone in on this delightful coffee, regardless of its classification.
Coffee farmers deliver ripe cherries to the Deri-Kochoha mill where the cherries are sorted and pulped. After pulping, the beans are fermented for 36 to 48 hours, and then washed. The wet beans in parchment are placed on raised drying beds in thin layers and turned every 2 to 3 hours during the first few days of the drying process. Depending on weather, the beans are dried for 10 to 12 days on raised beds. This lot was prepared to the very high Grade 1 standard at the dry mill before export.
While it’s completely normal to see Ethiopias in the 9s and 10s when observing their total moisture content, this is a drier-than-average selection. Otherwise, it’s fairly normal coffee by the high standard to which washed grade 1 Ethiopias are held: clean and polished with a somewhat small screen size and stable water activity.
Two different roasting styles produced two equally enjoyable coffees with some distinct differences. My first roast (PR-0253, gray below) used my standard slow build towards first crack. It tasted complex and floral, but less citric than my second roast (PR-0254, red below) which hit the coffee hard with heat right from the start. Despite the much darker ColorTrack reading, PR-0254 had notably elevated acidity and tasted very nice as it cooled. Both roasts needed a bit of a boost after first crack, as the coffee seemed to have a tendency to stall. You’ll notice on PR-0254 I backed off as I entered first crack a little too much, and had to make an adjustment to prevent baking as the rate of rise approached zero. It’s not what I’d call an ideal scenario, but the results were positive… potential roaster error notwithstanding.