Introduction by Chris Kornman

This late arriving Ethiopian coffee comes to us from a single farmer named Desta Gola living in the Dodora neighborhood of Wonago, a district within the Gedeo Zone. Desta Gola is forty-nine years old and has a four hectare farm with a little over 20,000 trees which have been in production since 2013. Desta Gola is a member of the Adame Gorbota cooperative which lies to the south of Yirgacheffe town.

Although his coffee is sold through the centralized ECX auction system, the coffee is fully traceable through the partnership Royal has established with the YCFCU (the umbrella Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union covering coops in the Gedeo Zone) to highlight single farmer lots. While not unheard of, it’s exceedingly uncommon to find a single-farmer lot from Ethiopia, so Desta Gola’s coffee presents a unique opportunity to taste a very specific regional terroir.

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.

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman

Like many Ethiopian washed coffee, Desta Gola’s green is super dense and a little smaller than average. Modest moisture and water activity numbers are unsurprising, as well. This is a very by-the-books looking lot, which was given a Grade 1 designation, the cleanest physical marks available in Ethiopian export grading.

Ikawa Roast Analysis by Chris Kornman

I jumped at the opportunity to do some roasting on the Ikawa this week. I took one of Jen’s successful profiles from previous sessions, and created one of my own that used differing airflow and temperature settings but finished in the same time. This allowed us to compare two very different approaches quickly as a preview before Jen took larger batches to the Probatino.

You can see the airflow represented on the chart: Jen’s roasts follow a more traditional Ikawa profile with an evenly paced rate of rise (green) and an airflow setting that decreases slowly towards the end of the roast (blue). Her roast employs about a 1 minute post crack development time that tends to result in a nice, even roast with a balance of sugar browning and Maillard reaction flavors.

My profile used a lower charge temperature, and a high initial airflow. I then drop the airflow to increase heat quickly through the Maillard reaction, and raise the airflow at the end of the roast to abate smoke and slow first crack. My profile typically results in a thinner body with higher acidity than Jen’s.

For this particular washed single-farmer Ethiopia, Jen’s gentler rate of rise produced a black tea-like note in the coffee with some dark cherry, peach marmalade, and hibiscus flavors. The more aggressive heat application during Maillard in my roast yielded more delicate jasmine and mint-leaf notes accompanied by subtler fruits like red raspberry and apricot.

Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca

In this week’s analysis I wanted to translate the Ikawa roasts to the Probatino to see if we would get the same results. Unfortunately, I could only replicate the roast profiles and not the airflow because the Probatino does not have that functionality. There is one damper in the stack to the chaff cyclone held in place by a wingnut. It is just too far away from the front of the roaster to safely adjust during a roast.

With that in mind, I gave Probatino (1) a high dose of heat just after turnaround and quickly backed off after yellowing. This gave the curve a more gentle and gradual rise. As I neared first crack, it was necessary to add more heat. In Probatino (2) I delayed heat application until necessary or when I noticed that I would lose momentum in the roast due to a rapidly decreasing rate of change. My aim was to have a steeper curve in the profile which would lengthen the drying time and decrease the Maillard stage. For both roasts, I tried my best to have them finish the same with the same post crack development times and end temperature.

Probatino (1) has a significantly longer Maillard time than Probatino (2) by 5.2%. Dense and small we can see that the exterior roast degree of Probatino (1) is also much darker by almost four whole points while the interior or ground samples are very similar, only one point apart. On the table Probatino (1) had a huge presence and was very intense while Probatino (2) was much more subdued yet still very nice. One way folks can add a more complex flavor profile to a coffee is by roasting in a manner that provides a large difference between the external and internal color. In this case, the eight point difference, produced a flavor profile that had the floral acidity of a light roast with the weighty undertones of a darker roast.


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.

This Ethiopian selection was a dream to roast. After our last few months of Ethiopian arrivals, I truly feel in tune with these when roasting on the Behmor. There’s a lot to work with in this coffee, and you can expect to hear a very long and lively crack. As a matter of fact, I dropped this coffee while it was still cracking after 1:20” of development.

While I didn’t achieve the ‘pink starburst’ flavors that we all knew were in this coffee, there was plenty of deliciousness left on the cupping table this morning. Even if I dropped this coffee while it was still cracking, there wasn’t an underdeveloped flavor to be found here. Look for florals, peachy sweetness, melon, lemon, and starfruit.

This is an incredibly expressive coffee, and you certainly play around with your roast style to get different flavors. A great coffee for beginners and experienced roasters alike, this is an exemplary Ethiopia.

Brew Analysis by Sandra Elisa Loofbourow

Rather than brew every roast once, this week I chose to take our favorite Probatino roast and brew it to multiple extractions. Focussing on one brew allowed me to explore the potential of that particular roast and brew two extremely different recipes to see how the coffee changed.

I love this coffee. So much so that it’s my choice for this week’s Staff Picks! It’s an example of the best coffees coming out of Yirgacheffe; incredibly clean, beautifully floral, with a pleasant but very present black tea astringency. It borders on tea-like, which means it won’t be everyone’s ideal cup of coffee. It just happens to be mine.

Although these brew ratios varied considerably (1:15 and 1:18), both brews leaned towards over extraction as far as the numbers go. I find aggressive extractions only help complex coffees like Desta Gola’s shine.

At 1:15 Desta’s coffee presented a lot of juiciness, with plum, cherry, and of course jasmine and black tea. As I pulled the extraction out to 1:18 those heavier, plummy notes opened up into nectarine, peach, cranberry, and rose. It would be hard to make this coffee taste anything but delicious, and even if you tried…. I’d likely still drink the whole cup.


This coffee may be available in full size bags as well. Contact Us to find out more.