Flavor Profile Strawberry, pineapple, lychee, caramel, vibrant
Please Note This coffee landed more than 8 months ago.
Check out our Guide to Ethiopian Coffee Grades
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This is a traditional natural coffee from Wenago, Ethiopia, produced by farmer Wolde Hirbe and the Adame Gorbota Cooperative. It is certified organic.
The flavor profile is elegantly balanced, and we tasted raspberry, strawberry, peach, and caramel with hints of floral flavors.
Our roasters found the coffee capable of roasting quickly with plenty of heat particularly early in the roast.
When brewed, our barista team felt that the coffee can feature a broader range of fruity and floral notes when dialed on a flatbed or an immersion brewer than on a faster conical pour-over.
Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman
It’s been a tough season for Ethiopia, between delayed arrivals and an overall impression of somewhat lower volumes of excellent lots this season, we’ve been extra picky for our Crown Jewel selections.
Under this year’s intense scrutiny, Wolde Hirbe’s coffee is an absolute stand out, and has quickly become a staff favorite here at The Crown. It manages to do so many things right, from its elegant and delicate balance of berry tones, to a solid but not overwhelming fudgy and caramelly backdrop, to distinct and unique tropical fruit flavors and hints of clean florality. Our tasters noted plenty of raspberry, blackberry, and strawberry, with support from peach, mango, orange, and kiwi. We picked up some black-tea-like flavors next to lavender, chamomile, and jasmine.
It’s a real crowd-pleaser for all the right reasons. For the fruity natural lovers there’s ample berry to please, while those who prefer gentler flavors will be impressed by the subtler stone fruit and floral notes. It’s distinctly Ethiopian, immediately approachable, effortlessly enjoyable… and highly recommended for a top spot on your winter menu.
Source Analysis by Mayra Orellana-Powell
The creation of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) in 2008 significantly limited full traceability back to specific farmers. In response, Royal established the Single Farmer Lots Program to separate single farmer lots from the larger cooperative blends sold through the ECX. Annual farm visits from Royal CEO Max Nicholas-Fulmer and regular communication with farmers through Haile Andualem, Royal’s representative on the ground in Ethiopia, has been an essential component for ensuring that farmers and washing stations are following strict farm management and post-harvest protocols. The results have been increasing cup quality and higher returns for the individual producers that Royal has come to count on for great coffee year after year.
This coffee is produced by Wolde Hirbe and processed as a separate lot at the Adame Gorbota Cooperative where Wolde is a member. The Adame Gorbota Cooperative is located in the district of Wenago in the Gedeo Zone within the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region, Ethiopia. Wolde Hirbe is part of the single producer project developed jointly between the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (YCFCU) and Royal Coffee. The project was initiated in 2012 with a handful of ‘Model’ producers from cooperatives organized under the YCFCU umbrella who have been willing to work with a rigorous set of processing standards, regular farm visits from the Royal team, and higher cup qualifications. In exchange, producers earn higher quality premiums based on the sale of their individual lots. Wolde was originally selected for the project because he has been cultivating coffee for more than 30 years and his 10-acre farm located near the community of Jemjemo is meticulously managed. Wolde’s coffee has been consistently sold as a micro-lot since the inception of the single producer project, which has helped him better support his family of ten.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
This might be the densest natural coffee we’ve analyzed this season from Ethiopia, at well over 700g/L free settled and nearly 770g/L on the Sinar’s digital readout. Otherwise, Wolde Hirbe’s coffee hits all the usual marks for Grade 1 Ethiopian coffee stats — small in screen size, dry in moisture content, low in water activity. Expect a good green coffee shelf life under normal storage conditions, and the possibility of needing a little extra heat energy early in the roast to break through that density barrier.
While there are certainly true heirloom coffees grown in much of Ethiopia, it’s also true that a relatively small number of highly controlled cultivars — both lab-crafted hybrids and selected landraces — are often the main components of specialty coffees throughout the nation. The selections have not been denoted here for us, but it’s fair to assume they are similar stock to the greater southern coffee regions, hardy and well adapted for cultivation in this, one of the world’s most coveted terroirs.
Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Doris Garrido
This is probably the tastiest Natural processed coffees from Ethiopia I have tasted this season, and based on the number of tasting notes I have collected from the Cropster cupping session I’m not the only one who thinks that way!
I have spent 3:40 minutes on drying and 2:31 in yellowing with 1:19 in post-development time. I charged my 5.5 lb. batch at 444 F with 100% gas and let it run for about 3:24 minutes, then dropped to the lowest 30% gas. I have started airflow at 360 F with 50%, which at this part of the roast is when smoke starts showing in the drum and as soon as coffee starts cracking, I push air to the 100%. I hit first crack with 22 degrees per 60 seconds of rate of rise, but with the 100% air flow the temperature start dropping and finally finished the coffee at 398 F with a minute and nineteen seconds of post development time and a total time of seven minutes and 30 seconds of a roast.
On the cupping table the next day this coffee brought tons of florals, great aroma, and clean cup. Here the notes: Floral (3) Delicate (2) Peach (2) Sweet (2) Berry like, Clean, Black Tea, Blackberry, Caramel, Clementine, Orange, Fig, Grape, Great acidity, Hint of cranberry, Jasmine, Juicy lemon zest, Light body, Mango, Mild but really clean and elegant, Milk Chocolate, Nectarine, Raspberry, Ripe mango, Slight yogurt, Strawberry, Fresh cherry, sweet plum, Tea like.
My favorite descriptor was “Mild but really clean and elegant” I was incredibly happy with the results, a clean and floral natural cup of coffee.
Aillio Bullet R1 IBTS Analysis by Evan Gilman
Unless otherwise noted, we use both the roast.world site and Artisan software to document our roasts on the Bullet. You can find our roast documentation below, by searching on roast.world, or by clicking on the Artisan links below.
Generally, we have good results starting our 500g roasts with 428F preheating, P6 power, F2 fan, and d6 drum speed. Take a look at our roast profiles below, as they are constantly changing!
I had such great success roasting Marta Alemu’s lot hot and fast that I decided to do the same for Wolde Hirbe’s lot. Well, almost the same.
I knew this was a fantastically dense coffee going into the roast, and hit it with the higher charge temperature of 455F that I’ve been so pleased with, and really punched the heat with P9 power, with the usual F2 fan speed. One major change I made here was slowing drum speed to D4; I felt that the roast of Marta Alemu’s coffee was super clear and bright, but it did lack the caramelized sugar notes that I am so fond of. Could I achieve all the bright fruitiness in this dense coffee, while also introducing some caramelized sugar notes with more conductive heat transfer, and drum contact? Let’s find out.
At turning point I lowered heat application to P8, which is still quite hot. Then, at the peak RoR of 35F/min I reduced heat again to P7 and increased fan to F3, with a successive increase to F4 a little after yellowing. I did notice the usual spike in rate of rise at 365F that I’ve come to expect, so I decreased heat application to P6 and increased fan speed to F5 shortly thereafter. This coffee really wanted to keep on its trajectory, and RoR decreased slightly over time, but was on average a bit flat. After reducing heat to P5 to ride out post-crack development, this coffee achieved a drop temperature of 394.5F at 8:55, just a little faster than the lot from Marta Alemu. This was a tougher nut to crack, and my final roast loss percentage was very low, but I was able to eke out a bit more development here (and hopefully some more of those sugary notes I obsess over).
While generally successful on the table, with notes of raspberry hard candy, salted caramel, and fresh strawberry, there was just a touch of roughness or toastiness that I’d attribute to more conductive heating than necessary. This was hardly a deal breaker, and I could tell that my compatriots enjoyed the roast. I’d say stick with a faster drum speed, and make sure to really let off the heat coming up to 360F on this coffee, and you’ll be sweetly rewarded! There is plenty of fruitiness and tasty acidity here to keep any roaster entertained, whether they’re interested in a light or a dark profile.
Ikawa Pro V3 Analysis by Isabella Vitaliano
Our current Ikawa practice compares two sample roast profiles, originally designed for different densities of green coffee. The two roasts differ slightly in total length, charge temperature, and time spent between color change in first crack. You can learn more about the profiles here.
While we have had a rough season for Ethiopian coffee, this coffee is one of the major exceptions of that trend (by a long shot).
Our HD roast with high heat paired well this high-density coffee. Immediately on the aroma was blueberry candy. This roast was insanely juicy and full of notes like blueberry compote, blackberry and strawberry candy. The body followed with a nice fudge component that complimented the fruit nicely. While distinct, it remained clean in the cup which made for a very slurpable cup of coffee.
This green coffee is good that it performed great on both roasts. Our LD roast takes on a more subtle version of this coffee but delicious none the less. Perhaps more tea-like in the body the notes took a turn towards fresh strawberry, fresh berry and raw honey. The aroma was still very berry and very sweet but simply not as powerful as our HD roast.
I’d like to steer you towards the HD roast in trying out this coffee. The juiciness and fruit notes are classic and represent our favorite characteristics of Ethiopian coffee; you simply can’t go wrong with it.
Brew Analysis by Colin Cahill
Here in the Tasting Room at The Crown, we’ve been following the exuberant chatter around this coffee as it has landed on various cupping tables, making its way into the Crown Jewel program and up into our brewing space. My fellow barista Dion took the lead brewing up this exciting new natural process coffee from Ethiopian producer Wolde Hirbe on our pour-over bar. He selected the ceramic Saint Anthony Industries F70 brewer, with an initial brew yielding pleasing array of fruity and floral notes. Dion decided to explore the coffee with a few different brews on the same device, playing around with water temperature, bloom water dosing, and grind size. We received consistently juicy, delicious brews, and I want to highlight two of our favorites.
Dion chose a dose of 19 grams of coffee and a recipe using 300 grams of water, with a brewing ratio of 1:15.8, hovering around a classic 1:16 ratio. He set the water temperature to 199F, a temperature we’ve been using to brew a similarly dense and sweet Ethiopian coffee on our pour-over bar. Dion wanted to explore brewing with a heavier bloom dose than we typically use, starting with 65 grams of water and allowing the wet grounds to bloom for 40 seconds, before adding two additional pulses to bring the total water dose to 300 grams. This brew finished in 3:14, with a TDS reading and an extraction percentage on the heavier side of what we typically look for. While this brew had an expected bitter note, it was cleaner than expected, and deeply sweet and juicy. We tasted primarily berry notes—predominantly blueberry and strawberry—with syrupy notes of pineapple, blood orange, and grapefruit. Despite the bold citrus notes, we detected strong florals as well, including rose, hyacinth, and lavender.
Aiming for a softer, lighter, cleaner brew, Dion, coarsened the grind size on our EK43 from a 10 to an 11, and he lightened the bloom water dose from 65 grams to 50 grams. Bringing the water back up to 203F, Dion let the wet grounds bloom for 40 seconds before adding two more brew pulses, bring the total water used to 300 grams, working with the same grounds-to-water ration of 1:15.8. This brew finished draining in 3:10—not dramatically different from the one above. This brew had a lower TDS—1.49, which is closer to specialty coffee industry standards—and an extraction percentage of 21.48. This brew featured sweet berry notes with a bit more citrus notes that crossed over into herbal territory. We tasted citrus aperitifs—bold notes of grapefruit and Campari—with hints of ginger and vermouth. This brew had a caramel-like sweetness and a lingering stone fruit aftertaste.
While we have gotten used to trying to clean up natural coffees with slightly faster recipes on conical brewers, we found that this coffee can lose a bit of its berry and floral complexity. A quick brew on the Hario V60 was dominated by sweet and pleasing notes of orange zest and lemonade, but it lacked most of the delicate floral and berry notes that Dion brought out on the SAI F70. This is a natural coffee that can feature a broader range of fruity and floral notes when dialed on a flatbed or an immersion brewer. We are looking forward to further exploration of this juicy yet delicate coffee’s nuances on our pour-over bar.