Introduction by Chris Kornman
This is a classic washed Ethiopia from the Chelchele coffee mill which is located in Gedeb, a woreda (district / city) close to Yirgacheffe; both are situated in the narrow band of the Gedeo Zone that is straddled by Sidama and Oromia. Coffees from Gedeb often exhibit a little more heft and bolder fruit flavors than the delicate, floral Yirgacheffe coffees.
The mill and its coffee are managed by METAD Agricultural Development PLC. METAD is a third generation family owned business with a rich history. After World War II, the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie awarded Muluemebet Emiru – the first African female pilot and family matriarch – with land in the Guji and Sidama zones which was then used for coffee development. These days, METAD is managed by Aman Adinew who returned to Ethiopia after many years working at the executive level for fortune 500 companies. After a stint bringing much-needed organizational skills to Ethiopia’s famous ECX coffee exchange, Aman rejoined METAD in an effort to make a difference for his family and community.
Through Aman’s leadership, METAD has strengthened the local community with employment opportunities including a workforce that is over seventy percent women, educational opportunities including sponsorship for a state-of-the-art elementary school with more than four hundred students, and healthcare for employees. METAD was also first to partner with Grounds for Health in Ethiopia to implement a successful cervical cancer screening program for women within the coffee growing communities. METAD provides technical assistance and shares modern farming equipment with other local farmers. METAD also has the first and only private state-of-the-art SCAA certified coffee quality control lab on the African continent, used to train both domestic and international coffee professionals.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
The folks at METAD know how to clean a coffee! This nicely prepped washed grade 1 has a small screen size, even for an Ethiopian offering. It’s fresh, clean, dense, and a bit dry.
The genetic diversity of Ethiopia’s indigenous coffee stock isn’t the only thing that makes its coffees remarkable. A time-tested system of channel washing and then soaking (aka double-washing) the coffee parchment after a long fermentation (36 to 48 hours in this case) helps to sort by density and clean away any remaining fruit pulp and fermenting microbes. There are also some indications that this post-fermentation soak may improve quality by tricking the seed into the initial stages of germination. After all this, the coffee is dried and hand-sorted on raised beds.
Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca
This coffee might as well be a spring bouquet on the cupping table. Our first roast PR-334 had more intense florals in the cup: jasmine and rose water with ginger and lemongrass, probably due to the shortness of the roast and post crack development. Our second roast, PR-335 had the same quality of florals, with a nice milk chocolate and smooth mouth feel. Both roasts performed well and the table was split as to which roast was superior.
There are a few things about this roast that I found interesting. As coffee professionals, we often see patterns when we roast and we easily become dependent on them in order to make decisions and legitimize our preferences. We will use a lot of different indicators for identifying roasts as either light or dark. In most cases these work just fine, but this time PR-334 & PR-335 bucked the trend. Not everyone is fortunate to have an Agtron or ColorTrack to tell them which of the roasts is indeed darker than the other. In the table below I list some markers that we as roasters typically rely on. The only marker that rang true was the end temperature. PR-334 was 4.2 °F higher than PR-335, but the ColorTrack was only 0.68 higher which is less different than I would have anticipated. On the cupping table, I would have guessed that PR-335 was darker because it had more sugar browning notes on the cupping table and I would have been wrong.
So, how did this happen? Well it has to do with the evenness of the roast inside and outside. PR-335 was a much more even roast than PR-334. The ColorTrack readings I have are from ground samples and the resulting ColorTrack number is an average. This is how we can have dramatically different roasts but the same or close ColorTrack number. If you have access to a color analyzer, you can take a whole bean reading (exterior) and a ground reading (interior and exterior) to see how even or uneven your roasting is.
Brew Analysis by Chris Kornman
Jen’s two roasts produced equally lovely brews in both Chemex and Kalita. In terms of flavor, this Gedeb leans a little more closely to the profile of its cousin Yirgacheffe to the north. Floral notes dominated the cup, regardless of roast or brew method or dwell time, and while we were a little surprised at the muted acidity, it didn’t take away our enjoyment of the brewed coffee. It’s a coffee that seemed hard to mess up in the brew basket. PR-334 offered up lots of peach, cantaloupe, grape, vanilla, and cotton candy, and generally seemed a little milder than PR-335, which tasted more like passionfruit, pineapple, hibiscus, and lemongrass.