This is a traditional double washed coffee from Sidama, Ethiopia, produced by smallholder farmer members of the Wayicho cooperative. It is certified organic.
The flavor profile is classic for a washed Sidama, with notes of lemon, honeydew melon, pear, and black tea-like floral notes.
Our roasters found the coffee needed plenty of heat and benefited from faster roasting styles.
When brewed, filtered drip coffees revealed subtle complexity particularly with coarser grinds and steady pours, while its gentle flavors offer excellent potential for espresso as well.
Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman
We’re so thrilled to be back in Ethiopia arrival season and this first entry is such a distinctive preview of all the great coffees soon to come. It hits all the benchmarks in flavors for excellent washed coffees from Sidama. The combination of citric flavors – centered here around sweet lemon – with the characteristic floral notes gently but unsubtly reminding the drinker of exactly where this coffee is from.
On the cupping table we really enjoyed the gentle honeydew melon-like sweetness and noted hints of blueberry and pear next to hard candy and lavender. Filtered, the cup takes on a black tea-like characteristic and reveals a subtle complexity of pomegranate and macadamia.
Source Analysis by Charlie Habegger
Wayicho is one of the primary cooperatives belonging to the Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (SCFCU), one of Ethiopia’s largest and best-known exporting organizations. SCFCU is robust; there are 53 member cooperatives in the union and over 80,000 member households throughout the Sidama Zone.
Harvest in Sidama occurs slightly earlier than in the more southern zones of Gedeo and Guji, and as a result the fully washed lots from here are usually the year’s very first top-quality arrivals from anywhere in Ethiopia.
Wayicho carries out activities that often go unnoticed but are crucial for small producers, including training producers in best organic practices and investing in basic infrastructure needs like road improvements and establishing local warehouses.
SCFCU focuses on establishing a certification process for local cooperatives, creating micro-credit for producers and investing in social programs on a larger scale. Environmental training programs, healthcare initiatives, life insurance, and educational opportunities are just some of the ways SCFCU strives to improve the quality of life for coffee producers and their families.
Farmers in this area are truly smallholders, averaging less than one hectare of coffee cultivation each, in which they also produce vegetables for the household and local sale.
Many of the coops today belonging to the Sidama Union began as independent processing groups sometime between the 1970s and 1990s, for lack of a greater export network. This lasted until the late 90s and relied largely on a system of local collectors and buyers, who would then deliver consolidated cherry to processors or export auctions.
The formation of cooperative unions in Ethiopia allowed for voting power and higher farm returns from the direct exportation that unions can undertake. Certifications, easily earned through the longtime organic methods of Ethiopia’s smallholders and a conscious business plan, could be secured for price protection and marketing purposes, helping vast populations of smallholders gain small but meaningful leverage in the global marketplace that remains to this day.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Reliably dense, dry, and small in size, Ethopian coffees set a precedent that’s hard to beat. You can usually expect Sidama coffees like this one, with high density and low moisture to provide excellent conditions for long-term storage as green coffee, to also require a little extra heat during roasting for best results. The 14-16 screen size range is highly typical for Ethiopian coffees and skews small for most of the rest of the world, it’s unlikely to impact your roasting technique too much unless you rely disproportionately on fan speed to loft your beans, such as in a Sivetz or Ikawa.
The default “indigenous” designation for Ethiopian coffees doesn’t really do justice to the wide variety and significant agronomic work that’s been poured into the cultivars commonly grown in the country. In places like Sidama, smallholders usually grow a mix of a few controlled varieties which were either selected from wild populations for positive characteristics or bred specifically to suit a regional idiosyncrasy (such as rust, berry disease, or climate). While you won’t find legacy cultivars like Bourbon or hybrids like Catimor here, there is usually a small grouping of favored trees grown throughout the region. Landraces, like those we find more commonly as “forest coffees” in the west of the country, are generally only present as manicured selections in the south.
Diedrich Analysis by Doris Garrido
The green metrics of the Ethiopia Wayicho were primarily in the small sieve sizes, ranking mainly in the numbers 14,15, and 16, a little dense, and with 10.4% moisture content on our Sinar moisture meter.
This was my second roast of the day on the Diedrich IR-5, which meant the drum was heated and stable. I reached 432F and charged the coffee. First, I wanted to watch how the exhaust temperature performed before turning point to wisely make gas decisions; I wanted a fast roast but manageable.
The coffee was taking the heat great. First I added 70% gas, but I noticed right away that 100% would help me better. I was looking to go through Maillard faster in order to catch the juicy flavors before all the moisture was gone. I watched my exhaust temperature reach 417F and started lowering my gas to 70%, then 45% and finally at minute 4:13 to the lowest 30%. Then I started 50% air flow before the color change at 312F. The rate of rise started lowering from 35/60 seconds at the beginning of Maillard to 16/60 seconds at first crack, exhaust rate of rise was barely lowering.
I added 100% air flow before the coffee began to crack, first to take the smoke out of the drum and get a cleaner cup, and second to help drop the temperature. Taking in consideration that at this point, I was running with the lowest on gas, otherwise temperature will increase, at least in my own experience. Finally the coffee cracked at minute 7:36 and 380F. I gave it 1:36 seconds of development time and dropped it at 395.3F for a total roast time of 9:12.
I noticed a pleasant citrus aroma as I was grinding for cupping, and during tasting we found floral notes, citric mandarins, dried apricot, melon, pear, silky mouthfeel, hard candy sweetness, slightly subtle, and clean!
We agreed it would make a perfect espresso. With a balance between sweetness and splendid acidity, Ethiopia Sidama Wayicho is going to hit the bar in the following weeks. And as for roasting, I know I will be working more with this coffee. Next time I will try a faster roast with a slightly higher turning point, with the goal in mind of going a little faster to find more juiciness and floral notes. Because even while I feel this coffee performs great here, I think there’s room for improvement.
Brew Analysis by Joshua Wismans
I’m sure we sound like broken records at this point, but y’all, it’s fresh crop African coffee season. Our first Ethiopian comes to us from the Wayicho group in Sidama, and it’s just what you were hoping for – fruity, floral, and bright.
Partially out of my own desires for cleanliness in washed Ethiopian brews, I chose to hone in on the V60. After a few trial brews, this coffee revealed itself to have high solubility, so we gravitated towards a coarser grind on our EK43s. My initial brew was at 11 which, compared to some of our other coffees, is fairly coarse. This gave us a TDS of 1.5, and overall tasted a little concentrated. There were still some great notes of cane sugar and melon, with hints of lemon and floral.
When we coarsened the grind up to 12, the coffee really opened up. At a TDS of 1.38, the complex citrus and pomegranate mingled with notes of black tea and plum. For the pour, we used long slow doses, bringing the brew to 200 grams after the initial bloom, then up to 300 to finish the brew around 3:30.
Overall, we recommend an approach that utilizes a coarser grind, slow and steady pouring, and a conical brewer like the V60. All signs point towards this being a wonderful season for Ethiopian coffee.