Flavor Profile Nectarine, lime, mango, blood orange, floral, milk chocolate
Check out our Guide to Ethiopian Coffee Grades
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This is a traditional natural coffee from the Yirgacheffe woreda in southern Ethiopia, produced by Hirut Shallo on her 5.2-hectare farm. It is certified organic.
The flavor profile is very floral and buttery-smooth with delicate fruit notes of peach, watermelon, and nectarine.
Our roasters found the coffee’s high density to require a good amount of heat in early stages, and recommend a touch additional development time after first crack.
When brewed as a pour-over our team had a hard time making a bad cup. The coffee is easy to dial, and we’re featuring it soon as an espresso, using a starting point of a low yield and slow pull time.
Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman
Hirut Shallo’s coffee, making its debut as 2023’s first natural Ethiopian coffee, is a bit of an unconventional choice. It’s incredibly floral, immaculately clean, and delicately fruited. This is not the “classic” blueberry fruit bomb Ethiopian naturals we’ve come to expect, but an undeniably vibrant and compelling twist on a classic that kept us on our toes throughout the analysis process, delightfully subverting expectations at nearly every turn.
It’s thrilling and a little intimidating to come across this type of coffee, after assuming so much about the “natural Yirgacheffe” category for so long. In place of the intense and uncomplicated berry-forward profile, we found clear fruit notes of peach and nectarine and apricot, with hints of watermelon, red grape, and bright orange. The sweet stone fruit profile and buttery mouthfeel set the stage for the headliner, and true showstopper – the coffee’s floral notes.
Honeysuckle, rose, jasmine, earl grey, chamomile, orange blossom, lemongrass… the list goes on. Each time we cupped, brewed, or pulled shots of this charming, unique, and thrilling coffee it seems we found more and more that reminded us of some undiscovered botanical garden, tucked away inside a cup of coffee.
Coffees like this are incredibly rewarding for the coffee professional, something new and unexpected in the roaster, and in the cup. They’re also the kind of coffee that’s easy to share with customers; the enthusiasm bubbles over into conversations about expectations, origins, and ultimately what’s in the cup we’re all so stunned and delighted by.
The Crown’s got a small selection of the coffee set aside for espresso service. The rest is packed up in 22lb Crown Jewel boxes, and we’re proud and excited for you all to dig into it and share your experiences with us and your customers.
Source Analysis by Charlie Habegger
Hirut Shallo grows coffee on 5.2 hectares of land in Yirga Chefe (also spelled Yirgacheffe), one of 8 woredas, or districts, that together comprise the dense and competitive highland zone of Gedeo. The entire Gedeo zone is often referred to as “Yirgacheffe” after this very district, by far its most famous for a long history of recognizable terroir.
5.2 hectares is considered very large for this area, where half a hectare is the norm. The vast majority of coffee processing in Ethiopia is centralized due to complete lack of infrastructure or efficiencies at the farm level, but larger plots like Hirut’s allow for greater personal control. This lot is Hirut’s entire specialty crop, harvested with the assistance of about 7 workers, sorted for consistency, and sundried on her property on raised beds for about three weeks.
There are precious few single-farm coffees available from this part of Ethiopia these days. Not long ago there were practically none at all. For the past 10 years, Royal, with support from select cooperatives, founded and led the Single Farmer Lots Program, in order to break off single farmer microlots from the larger cooperative blends sold anonymously through the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX), taking custody of these precious coffees through a direct sale. The program was a unique micro-channel of almost unprecedented specificity in coffee supply from Ethiopia during those first years. Farmers with the drive and means to sell direct were supported by Royal, and, in turn, our most enthusiastic buyers of Ethiopia coffee had access to a portfolio of single-farm lots, un-diluted by the typical cooperative- and exporter-level consolidations. The Single Farmer Lots Program represented a very sweet end to a chaotic chapter in Ethiopia’s coffee history, and we think it was a foundational model for what is happening now: the emergence of a new generation of micro-exporters engaged in start-up relationship farming in Ethiopia’s world-famous southern zones, putting more diversity and traceability into the global market than ever before.
Hirut Shallo started processing and marketing her own coffee in 2019. She runs the farm together with her husband and 4 children, all of whom contribute to the farm’s entrepreneurialism. Hirut’s coffee is managed and exported by Konga Trading PLC, a recently-formed company owned by, who else, the former General Manager of the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (YCFCU), Takele Mammo. Takele was an instrumental partner of Royal’s during his time at YCFCU, helping us identify and successfully export single farmer lots for the first time in the Union’s long history.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
A unique green coffee offering here, relatively small in size, mostly sorted down to 14-17 screens, this coffee is unsurprisingly dense as well. Its moisture is in average-looking territory but it has a slightly elevated water activity level. It has a lightly fruity aroma, and you’ll likely notice the nicely polished beans are less “foxy” (that is, there’s very little of that reddish silver-skin discoloration that we see sometimes in natural and honey processed coffees).
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. Uniquely we’ve been provided with the cultivar names, or rather in this case numbers, indicating their heritage. 74112 and 74148 are both selections made in 1974 by the Jimma Agricultural Research Center (JARC), and both are from a motherplant taken from Metu in the Illubabor region in the west. 74112 is a somewhat common transplant to Gedeo, but this is the first time I’ve seen 74148 indicated in the zone. The 1974 selection project, including both of these plants, was focused on finding pest-resistant plants.
(Check out my recent Guide to Ethiopian Coffee Grades if you’re curious to learn more about how export assignments are created, and the implications in the country’s iconic system.)
Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Chris Kornman
Conventionally, we typically roast naturals more gently than washed coffees, and we tried that with Hirut Shallo’s natural from Yirgacheffe and felt like it was missing something. After discussing at length with Doris, consulting on her sample roasting style and her first Diedrich attempt, as well as asking Isabella to chime in on any insights from Ikawa sample profiling, I decided to take a crack at roasting the coffee with a slightly different approach.
Coffees like this present a unique challenge for a few reasons – first, delicate floral flavors are amongst the easiest to wash out with minor roasting errors. Second, the coffee is very dense, and requires a bit of extra heat for best results. However – especially with natural process beans – that density falls off quickly later in roasting and can present challenges for hot and fast roasting styles due to the tendency to run away from the operator at or around first crack.
The strategy I decided to employ here was to charge hot with a high burner setting and no soak, and keep the pressure on as much as possible until color change. An overly-extended Maillard phase didn’t particularly produce exceptional results on our first roasting attempt, so I wanted to make sure the momentum slowed but didn’t fall off completely.
These two tactics were relatively easy to accomplish using a combination of burner and airflow settings. However, I started hearing a few early cracks about 10F below the usual start of first crack. With my airflow fully opened and burners at minimum, the bean temperature was still increasing by over 20F per minute by the time I’d reached full first crack. My only option to slow the coffee down and avoid a massive upturn in bean temperature was to fully shut down the burners and coast.
The Diedrich’s ceramic plates did a good job of keeping the drum warm despite the flow of unheated air through the machine. I was able to push development past our usual range and get some good caramelization on the beans at a very low rate of rise in late-stage first crack.
I can’t emphasize the importance of this enough – the coffee is a little prone to underdevelopment. Even though color change and first crack seem to start a bit early, you’ve really got to push your color just a little deeper to make sure those enzymatic flavors – the fruit and floral notes buried in the green coffee’s chemical composition – are properly expressed in the cup.
Doris & I couldn’t wait for the rest of the team… we cupped it directly out of the roaster. Peachy sweetness and aromatic coffee and orange blossom were immediately clear. We let the coffee rest a few days and handed it off to the rest of the team to brew.
This was a fun puzzle to figure out, and I’d strongly recommend treating this coffee a little more like a washed coffee in the roaster. Get through drying phase quickly, don’t stretch Maillard too much, and take it just a touch darker for best results.
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!
It’s the season for delicious Ethiopian coffees to arrive, and we’re really getting them now. This full natural from Hirut Shallo is a prime example of the quality and deliciousness Ethiopia can provide, as the original origin of coffee. This coffee is quite dense, and very well sorted into the 15/16 screen territory leaving me to think that I wouldn’t need as hefty of a push to get this coffee through green and drying. So I decided to use a 464F charge temperature – still on the higher side, but not a heavy push like I used with the Desta Gola since this is a natural coffee. I knew that because of the density, I’d likely need to pull back on the heat application a little earlier as well. Also, I wanted to get ample caramelization through more conductive contact with the drum for this roast, and reduced drum speed to d4 just to see how that worked out.
I did just that. Sticking to P9 power only until turning point, I reduced to P8, then to P7 at my peak rate of change. A little after turning point I had also increased fan speed to F3, which really helped draw down my rate of change before yellowing. After yellowing, I hit F4 and waited until the traditional spike in rate of change at 365F to toggle to F5 for a few seconds while reducing heat application to P6. I only returned to F5 at first crack to pull all the smoke from the drum and get a bit more development time. The result was less than a minute of post-crack development, but the coloration of the coffee was such that I knew it was time to drop into the cooling tray.
This roast progressed pretty much exactly the way I wanted it to, but how was the cup? Well, I’ll tell you. Thick fudgy chocolate notes were backed up by fig jam and tamarind overtones, with a distinct maple finish. I definitely got the sugar browning I was looking for with the slower drum speed! This may have been at the sacrifice of some of the brighter fruity top notes, but this an absolutely sugary cup of coffee. Just my speed. Super smooth mouthfeel, and a cakey, almost dessert-like experience. And the peaches…
You may have noticed that I handled this coffee slightly differently from Chris above, and you’d be correct! If you want to replicate that profile on the Bullet, you’ll need to extend high heat application a bit in the beginning of the roast, as well as decreasing your burner power a bit earlier than I did in the roast above.
Regardless of your roast style, you’re going to have an excellent time with this flexible coffee. Great for an espresso or filter drip, this Hirut Shallo’s coffee will keep you coming back for more sips!
You can follow along with my roast below at roast.world:
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.
The tea-like flavors of this Ethiopian had us ruminating about the what the standard of natural coffees really mean. Softer than one would expect but not less fruity by any means. On the first pass of this sample roast, we got notes of earl gray, florals, lemon/lime, mild rose, orange and ripe nectarines. A natural coffee that seems to perform in the roaster like a washed the team was curious to how these flavors would manifest in on these Ikawa profiles. With the help of Chris, we can break down the differences between these two roasts.
The light density roast really honed in on the floral notes of this coffee with lots of rose, cherry, dark fruits, jasmine and slight spice the aroma was very berry forward. The light density roast was a little toastier than it usually is and less than ideal to make those floral and fruit flavors really shine.
The high-density roast still had those full cherry notes and a rounder chocolate covered strawberry flavor. The sweetness was great with a good amount of florals but a tad less perfumy. The fruit notes in this cup really mellowed out as it cooled but had a mild raspberry tartness and airiness that retained the intricacy this coffee has to offer.
Whole both were tasting great, Chris and I recommend starting off with the high-density roast and potentially going towards something in the middle for a production batch. This coffee is softer than one would expect from an Ethiopian natural but in a way that highlighted the complexity and had us going back for more. You didn’t hear it from me, but a few ounces (or more) might go missing from our analysis batch…. Grab a box while it lasts!
You can roast your own by linking to our profiles in the Ikawa Pro app here:
Roast 1: Low Density Sample Roast
Roast 2: High Density Sample Roast
Brew Analysis by Katie Briggs
With temps heating up here in the Bay Area, we have no shortage of thirsty coffee lovers, and we are super excited to see so many new coffees coming through our facility for folks to try out. This Ethiopia Natural is no exception! A super delicious coffee to get you through these longer summer days, and any way you brew this up it will be fruity, light and so tasty!
I started my brews with a very basic recipe on the V60 cone brewer, a 19-gram dose and a grind of 9. Started with a 50-gram pour of water for 40 seconds for the initial bloom. I then took the dose of water to 200-grams, and then to 300-grams for the final dose. Wow! Were we surprised with how tasty this first brew was. It had fresh fruity notes of apricot, concord grapes, and peaches, while also having a super smooth buttery note with the sweetness of brown sugar, and vanilla. This brew was so tasty I almost didn’t want to do another! But, for analysis’s sake, I did a few more just to see how it would perform on different brew devices.
I did the second brew on a Kalita Wave brewer to see how a flatbed brewer would affect the brew. I kept the dose and the grind the same, and kept the water doses the same as well. This brew yielded a higher TDS, but was still fairly tasty with notes of mango, buttery peach and cocoa.
The last brew I did was on the F70, also keeping the dose and grind the same as I just wanted to test out different brewing devices and not mess with the recipe that much since the first brew was so tasty. This brew was probably my least favorite, although still very good! It had notes of ripe peach and nectarine, but still chocolaty with a hint of orange citrus.
Like I said previously, any brew of this coffee will be delicious, although the first brew was my favorite. It really was a great balance of fruity sweetness and smooth buttery notes. All my teammates agreed that this was a spectacular coffee and that this was our favorite brew. With that said, I would recommend a cone brewer and a higher dose to really bring this coffee to life! Come and grab a cup at the Crown. We will have this coffee on espresso in the near future!
Espresso Analysis by MJ Smith
Recipe 1: 18g dose, 36.9g yield, 32 seconds
Recipe 2: 19g dose, 36g yield, 34 seconds
After tasting a few of Katie’s brews of this delightfully unique natural process coffee from Ethiopia, I was super excited to dial it in for espresso. It did not disappoint! Almost every shot I pulled had something enjoyable about it. Packed full of sweet stone fruit, invigorating citrus, and elegant florals, this coffee leaves you feeling peachy keen! I tried shots with doses ranging from 17g to 19g, but my favorites had doses of 18g and 19g.
The 18g shot had a yield of 36.9g and a pull time of 32 seconds. Before I even took my first sip, I was greeted with an aroma only comparable to walking past a fence covered in freshly blossomed jasmine honeysuckle at the beginning of summer. Upon tasting, I picked up notes of lemon drops, canned peaches, candy corn, honeysuckle, rose water, and Eggo waffles. I poured some for a few other team members, who picked up some additional notes of Starburst candy (specifically the orange and pink ones), lemon curd, cacao nibs, lime zest, and just a hint of gentian.
Next, we’ve got our 19g shot, coming in with a similar yield of 36g and a slightly longer pull time of 34 seconds. While I really enjoyed the other shots I pulled, I think this one was my favorite of the bunch. It just had a little more “oomph” to it (likely from the higher dose). Notes of orange and peanut butter were picked up across the whole team, but singularly, I detected notes of peach cobbler, orange zest, peanut butter, pomegranate, maple syrup, and graham cracker. Some additional notes from the rest of the team included lemon-lime, PB&J, honeysuckle, cabernet, milk chocolate, and lavender. I get the feeling that this shot would be absolutely delightful when paired with milk.
If you decide to buy this coffee and use it for espresso, I recommend starting out with a yield on the lower end of the spectrum (36-37g) and a pull time on the slower side (32-34 seconds). Obviously roast date and environmental conditions should be taken into account, but I found the dose wasn’t as important for this coffee, as it was tasting great no matter how much coffee I used. Hope you enjoy!