Introduction by Chris Kornman
Deep in the heart of coffee country in southern Ethiopia, a small coffee empire is quietly transforming the landscape.
The Hambela region is home to an estate, washing stations, and collection points owned and operated by METAD Agricultural Development PLC. The family-run company was gifted property by Emperor Selassie in honor of the matriarch, Muluemebet Emiru, the first African female pilot. METAD is now managed by her grandson Aman Adinew, and its export partner Rift Valley Trading LLC is operated by his brother Michael Adinew. Among the many important pieces of work undertaken by METAD are their commitment to equal employment opportunities for women and education opportunities for the youth of the coffeelands, their early partnerships with Grounds for Health, and their development of Africa’s first SCAA certified lab.
In the field, not only have they established their own harvesting sites, but they have partnered with smallholder associations. They don’t simply buy the coffee cherry from the local farmers, but they provide them with pre- and post-harvest trainings. These trainings include agriculture and business management help, with the intention of reaching beyond simply getting better coffee to create better, mores sustainable communities.
Halo Beriti is selected from one such smallholder association. The coffee is double washed, employing a common East African tactic of soaking the parchment coffee in clean water after fermentation. Not only does this help remove any leftover pulp on the seeds, it also triggers the seed to begin germinating and it’s speculated this can improve the flavor.
The coffee offers a diverse range of flavors, at once spanning the spectrum from savory herbs to delicatl floral fragrances, from soft melon and stonefruit flavors to bright punchy citrus and deep chocolate, spices, and nuts. It’s possible to modulate this flavor profile heavily with roasting and brewing techniques… a magnificent and malleable coffee if there ever was one.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Unsurprisingly dry, dense, and a little smaller than average, this washed Ethiopian coffee checks all the usual boxes. Like all exportable lots passing through the country’s coffee exchange, it receives a grade based on its physical characteristics. The lot’s Grade 1 demarcation highlights the precision processing and lack of physical defects.
Ethiopia’s seed stock is the most genetically diverse on the planet, though there are certainly varieties that have found favor with distributors or growers in particular regions. While coffee does grow in forests in the country and indigenous varieties can be domesticated, many farmers are in fact growing cultivated selections made by quality labs. In either case, crop resilience and likely flavor profiles are positively affected by the wide array of available options for planting.
Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca
A dense coffee such as this can take on a lot of heat. With the added precaution of already being on the dry side, I noticed that my first roast raced through the drying stage. On roast two, I decided to lengthen my total roast time but isolate it to just pre first crack. I lowered my charge temperature by over 15 degrees and delayed my initial heat application by 21 seconds compared to roast one. Although I achieved a longer drying time, I was in danger of baking the coffee and needed to turn the heat up a quarter tick just before Maillard reactions began. This resulted in a slightly longer Maillard time, but not altogether different than roast one. Once I built enough momentum I lowered my gas back to 3 before first crack began, and made two more reductions during post crack development to achieve a nearly identical time as roast one. Although roast two had a lower end roast temperature by 4 degrees, I achieved the same level of roast inside and out as roast one with the same Colortrack numbers. Roast two was a much more manicured roast, but also produced a juicier cup and gave the coffee time to develop some more sugar browning flavors by lengthening the time in the drum without sacrificing the citrus and floral notes.
Roast one: Lemon, honeydew, cantaloupe, floral
Roast two: Apricot jam, jasmine, honey, floral, lemon curd
Behmor Analysis by Evan Gilman
I stuck with most of my recommended initial parameters with this coffee (manual full power using P5, high drum speed from the outset), but with some noticeable differences further along in the roast. Playing with heat application was very rewarding with this delicious Ethiopian coffee. Immediately at first crack, I engaged the P4 preset for 30 seconds and used P3 for the remaining 40 seconds of development, resulting in a total development time of 1:10.
The product was relatively light at 10.7% roast loss, and held on to quite a few of the jasmine-y floral and lemony citrus notes that we saw with Jen’s roasts. Honestly, this is an easy-to-handle coffee that could probably take whatever you throw at it, but I would suggest starting with a lighter roast level and working your way into more developed roasts due to the tasty nuances that can be found in this coffee. Higher finishing temperatures may bring out juicy melon acidity, and drier florals like geranium and lavender.
Brew Analysis by Evan Gilman
What a pleasant coffee to brew and drink! Both brews listed below were performed using Jen’s roasts, and resulted in splendid cups of coffee. We did prefer Roast 2 very slightly as a group, and it ended up being slightly more soluble.
Fresh herbal notes peer through the peachiness of this coffee, so you can expect complexity with your clean sweetness. This coffee does pour through a little more slowly than others (typical for an Ethiopian coffee), but with no detrimental effects. It would be very difficult to make this coffee taste bad. Enjoy, and drink lots!
This coffee may be available in full size bags as well. Contact Us to find out more.