I can’t tell you how relieved I am to be gazing into a future flush with fresh coffee arrivals. I’ve been busy elbowing my way onto cupping tables and bidding on coffees in a bit of a strategy change for the Crown Jewel program. I wanted to let you know specifically about our Ethiopia shipping plan for the 2024 season.
While there’s been a lot of initial enthusiasm about high qualities out of Ethiopia this year, we’ve also had to be limber with the main exit port of Djibouti down in volume about 50% due to the ongoing war in Gaza and resulting attrition in the Red Sea. Let’s all pray for peace and an end to the killing there.
We’ve got a bunch of very exciting coffee coming to the menu, including several familiar names and faces, and a couple of rising stars making their debut on the menu. Here’s what’s already tasted, contracted, and shipping soon:
  • Hirut Shallo Natural – Last year’s heavy hitter natural Crown Jewel, Hirut Shallo is back again, a delicate natural, as floral as it is fruity. We cupped this year’s offer and tasted red grapes, bergamot, strawberry, sweet peach, white tea, and jasmine.
  • Zelelu Ararso Washed – A longtime Royal offering, this single farmer selection from the Addis Ketema cooperative in Wenago, Gedeb (Yirgacheffe) is a first-time addition to the Crown Jewel menu. It’s probably the most herbal of our CJ selections this year, reminding us of cannabis flower, chamomile, and mint leaf, but also possessing the depth of flavors like blackberry, key lime, and Meyer lemon.
  • Desta Golo Washed – Another single farmer selection, this time from the Adame Garbota Cooperative, Desta Golo’s coffee will be on the CJ menu for the fourth consecutive year in 2024. We tasted kiwi, lavender, geranium, kumquat, and plum.
  • Halo Hartume Natural – This coffee really rang Caitlin McCarthy-Garcia’s bell and I trust her at the cupping table more than just about anyone. She noted cherry, cream, mango, herbaceous, peach, pineapple, and rose. For me, this was a coffee with a slightly savory dried berry character that brushed up against winey flavors at times, with a deep dark chocolate backbone – think Syrah more than Pinot for this one.
  • Marta Alemu Natural – An absolute stunner in 2022, Marta Alemu is back for 2024 and her coffee is expressive and juicy. We tasted sweet mango, yellow peach, candied lemon, pomegranate, fresh hops, and dried rose.
We’re doing our best to expedite shipping, but it’s best to keep in mind that an optimistic ETA for many of these coffees would be sometime in late June or early July. We’re also still waiting on final confirmation for a couple of coffees from Guji and one last Gedeb Worka.
While we wait for these to arrive, if you’re interested in something from East Africa, check out the triple-washed Rwanda Crown Jewels and this natural coffee from Kayanza, Burundi, produced by 858 farmers organized around the Heza washing station and this refined little jewel from Ngozi’s preeminent women-led producer group.