Introduction by Chris Kornman
In the Gedivo kebele of Kochere, not far from Yirgacheffe town, a private washing station owned by Matewos Ersemo processes coffee cherry for more than 650 smallholder producers.
The nation of Ethiopia is home to over 100 million people, and agriculture accounts for the vast majority of the country’s labor force. While large estates do exist, they are the minority. Most farmers in Ethiopia count their trees rather than their acreage, and most farms are truly gardens where food for the family is grown with perhaps a few cash crops interspersed to supplement income. Unlike many areas of the world, however, coffee is both native to Ethiopia and a part of daily life. Considered a cash crop elsewhere, it is consumed in Ethiopia in most homes, and an elaborate ceremony often accompanies its service. Ethiopia is the world’s only coffee producing country whose volume of consumption equals its export.
Drying in the cherry, as is the case with this coffee, is the original tradition in Ethiopia. Natural or dry-process, fruit-dried or cherry-dried – however you prefer to talk about this style of ‘zero-process’ coffee post-harvest production, it all comes back to Ethiopia. While farmers across the globe still practice this method of letting the coffee fruit dry like raisins around the seed, it all started in here. It’s still common to see smallholder farmers drying their daily harvest on their porches or lawns across the country.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
No surprises here, this is a cleanly prepped Grade 1 Ethiopia Natural with all of the associated hallmarks: smaller than average in size, denser than average, and drier than average. All Ethiopian coffees receive a score from 1 to 5 before export; grade 1 indicates the highest sensory value and cleanest preparation in terms of screening and defects.
Drier-than-usual coffee from Ethiopia is the norm this season, and could very likely be climate related. Ethiopian highlands are emerging from the midst of a significant drought that began in 2015, compounded by an unusual frost this past winter in some microclimates. Droughts are becoming more severe and more frequent in Africa’s horn. Compound this with political unrest that damaged or destroyed a number of coffee washing stations last year in Southern Ethiopia, and there’s a real possibility we might never see more and better coffee from these regions than we do now.
Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca
Roasting a natural coffee can be quite tricky because of their compromised structure and low moisture content, but the sweetness and fruit flavors are highly rewarding when you get it right. This Ethiopian coffee is far smaller in screen size and denser than natural coffees from other origins and can take heat well through the roasting process. The two roasts are identical until first crack. Roast one continued through post crack development time with a high rate of rise and had a higher end temperature than roast two. On my second roast, I reduced the heat just after first crack and was able to lengthen the post crack development time by 11 seconds and end at a lower temperature.
Roast one was very dynamic and balanced with lots of floral notes and some great sugar browning flavors. Roast two had a tremendous amount of fruit acidity that really ran the gamut of summer berries and was very bright.
Roast one: Green apple, honeysuckle, fruit punch, vanilla
Roast two: Dried blueberry, peach, strawberry compote, lime zest
Behmor Analysis by Evan Gilman
Unless otherwise noted, I follow a set standard of operations for all my Behmor roasts. Generally, I’ll use the 1lb setting, manual mode (P5), full power, and high drum speed until crack. Read my original post and stats here.
I roasted this coffee immediately after the Bedhatu Jibicho, and knew to hold back a bit after first crack and to cut the heat slightly sooner. If you look at the two profiles, you can see that this coffee could take more heat before first crack. It’s slightly more dense, and contains slightly more moisture. It also performed just a little better on the cupping table.
This coffee is less fruity than some other natural coffees, but has plenty of caramelized sugar notes to go around. If you’re looking for an understated and sweet natural coffee, this would be a good choice. For this roast, notes ranged from caramel and brown sugar to plum, raspberry, and grilled nectarine. Suffice to say, there was still plenty going on in this Behmor roast.
Brew Analysis by Evan Gilman
A trend that I’m beginning to see with these Behmor roasts is that they pour through more quickly than those roasted on the Probatino. Generally speaking, I’ve found that Ethiopian coffees pour through very slowly in comparison to many other origins. While the jury is still out on why this is, the effect the Behmor has on Ethiopian coffees in particular is worth mentioning. On both this coffee and CJ1151, the Behmor roast was markedly more quick to finish draining through the bed of grounds.
Both roasts received glowing reviews after meticulous sipping. The Behmor boasted banana, passionfruit, and many other notes of pink tropicalia. The Probatino brought out the straightforward raspberry, bright and jammy fruits, and tart cherries. Honestly, both roasts we sampled were quite nice and very quaffable. Choose your own adventure!
This coffee may be available in full size bags as well. Contact Us to find out more.