Introduction by Chris Kornman
This coffee is a special preparation for Royal by Hambela Estate, managed by METAD Agricultural Development PLC, and a companion lot to CJ1041, “Bishan Fugu.” The names refer to cherry collection stations, positioned in different areas of the farm. Hambela is located in the ill-defined borderlands between the Sidama and Guji Zones in Southern Ethiopia. Regional borders 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). The area where the farm is located was formerly part of the Sidamo region prior to 1995, the Guji zone was created in 2002 after neighboring districts split apart. Guji is located within the vast Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest and most populous ethnic region.
Drying coffee in the cherry is the original tradition in Ethiopia. Coffee is not just a cash crop here; 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. Hambela’s large scale and access to resources and land has enabled them to dry not just their washed coffees, but also their natural dry coffee cherries on raised beds, improving consistency and quality.
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 whose resume includes director positions at Fortune 500 and at the ECX.
METAD’s accomplishments include bolstering 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. The company provides technical assistance and shares modern farming equipment local farmers, and 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
A little lower in density than its companion, this is still a relatively dense coffee, and otherwise mirrors much of the observations regarding the Bishan Fugu lot, including a somewhat low water activity reading, small and somewhat spread-out screen size, and a slightly dryer than average moisture reading; all hallmarks of the region. Like its companion, this was classified as a Grade 1 green coffee on export.
Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca
For a naturally processed, this coffee sure is dense and of the two roasts below, we preferred the faster roast of this coffee with its strawberry and blackberry pie acidity. The longer roast, PR-351, added dark chocolate and vanilla to the mix while rounding the edges of the acidity in the cup. Both roasts were easy to manipulate and this coffee behaved much more like a washed coffee than a natural.
Brew Analysis by Jen Apodaca
There is a wall of Bonavita brewers hanging out here at The Crown for our Crown on the Road series, So Evan and I broke one out for the analysis this week. We decided to pit the Bonavita against the Kalita brewer because they both have flat bottom filters and would likely be a more equal comparison. To our surprise, the two brews were very similar in flavor and quality. Our preferences between the two were more due to personal flavor preference. We invited a few traders to settle the score and brew preference remained a 50/50 split! Jennifer Huber liked the brighter acidity in the Bonavita brew, while Peter Radosevich enjoyed the fruited berry flavors that came out in the Kalita. We kept the water to coffee ratio (as well as preinfusion) the same, but the batch size and grind needed to be adjusted in order to represent each brew method fairly. More on that soon!
This coffee is available in full size bags as well. Contact Us to find out more.