Hambela: A New Ethiopian Origin by Evan Gilman

Aman and Michael Adinew of METAD Agricultural Development have spent many years improving the coffee business in Ethiopia.  Their family farm, Hambela, produces some of the best naturally processed coffee we have tasted, and is an example of great infrastructure and attention to detail. Previously blended into other Guji or Yirgacheffe selections, it is now being promoted as a new origin.

A visit to their mill will show you just how organized they are.  Full documentation happens during processing, and new milling equipment is in use across the board.  METAD also gives back to their community.  The company provides healthcare to workers, funded the construction of an elementary school, and shares their farming equipment with other nearby farmers.  Furthermore, they founded the first SCAA certified lab in Africa, and have an active hand in standardized quality control on their farm.

Aman in particular is no stranger to the details of coffee production and logistics.  He helped found the Ethiopian Commodities Exchange, and worked for years at DHL refining their logistics throughout Eastern Africa.  Sitting with Aman, you will hear all manner of stories about transporting coffee over land, the troubles one can expect, and the creative solutions to these problems.

All this hard work shows in the coffee.  I brewed two of their coffees side-by-side, and the results were stunning.  The Hambela 1 Single Farm Natural (33698) positively rings with bright fruit notes (cherry, raspberry, honeydew) and shining acidity.  Similarly, the Hambela 1 Alaka Single Farm Washed (33700) is bright – but with more citrusy (kumquat, mandarin, bergamot) and clean herbal flavors (lemon verbena).  What the two have in common is a massive finish of cocoa and graham cracker.  A few minutes after drinking, the aftertaste persisted as a reminder of these beautiful cups of coffee.

If ever we had a recommendation for a stellar Ethiopian coffee, this would be it!