Bogale Turki, who produced this delightful dry processed batch of beans, farms coffee on a 30 acre plot in the Banko Chelchele kebele (neighborhood) of Gedeb woreda, south of Yirgacheffe and just west of the bulgy border with the vast Oromia region.
This is not the first year we’ve purchased his coffee, but it is the first as a direct export. Bogale Turki and a number of his neighbors have banded together under the organization of Bedhatu Jibicho and her family to take advantage of new ECX legislation allowing producers to circumvent the auction and sell directly.
Bedhatu Jibicho’s son Tesfaye Roba has taken up the task of organization in the fledgling company. In the past, we’d been able to secure these coffees through a special agreement with the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, in which they held separate and sold to us directly lots like that of Bedhatu. However, this season Bedhatu and her neighbors have banded together, using the premiums they’ve received to establish a farmer-owned export company to sell us their coffee independently. It’s an example of the liberalizing market in Ethiopia, an encouraging development and one that will likely only further benefit all players in the supply chain, whether roaster, importer, or producer.
The coffee is processed naturally, as dried cherry. As such it retains plenty of juicy fruit flavors. We picked out a lot of plum, with berries taking a subtler back seat to stone fruits and grapes. There’s also a pleasant black tea-like quality with some florality making appearances depending on roasting style. A complex and nuanced coffee with a lot going on in the flavor department, to be sure.
In terms of physical specs, Bogale Turki’s coffee is small and mostly distributed between screens 14-16; a fairly common Ethiopian characteristic. The water activity and moisture figures are a little higher than we typically see from this region, and the density is a little bit lower, surprisingly. Expect some unusual behaviour around first crack; the coffee will likely be a little slow to caramelize after.
Ethiopia’s genetic diversity of coffee is no secret, but increased attention is being paid to distinguishing cultivars and varieties, thanks in part to the work undertaken by Tim Hill and Getu Bekele. Established in the 1960s, the Jimma Agricultural Research Center was instrumental in selecting, breeding, and distributing scores of cultivars throughout the country in the decades following Haile Selassie’s downfall. These have included region-specific varieties, specialty cultivars, and hybrids and wild selections made for disease resistance.
I took the reigns on the little Ikawa sample roaster again this week to get a first look at this single-farmer natural Ethiopia. Using the open setting on our Ikawa Pro v. 2, I’ve been working to adjust our older profiles to make them compatible with the higher fan speed we’ve encountered since compensating for the recent firmware update. I tweaked Jen’s 5:15 long maillard profile by extending the end of the roast 15 seconds and dropping the airflow a little after first crack, and compared it with my “Mellow” profile that roasts in 6:00 with a high variation of airflow throughout the roast.
For Bogale Turki’s coffee, Jen’s profile (blue) achieved black tea, nougat, and white grape flavors, while chocolate, lilac, blueberry, and plum emerged from my Mellow roast. Both roasts were a little underdeveloped, with a bready hint that suggested this coffee might benefit from a bit more time at a low RoR after first crack. The coffee seems a little sluggish to arrive at first crack, consistent with our observations in beans with higher than average water activity.
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This week’s analyses feature two dry process coffees from an informal cooperative in Banko Chelchele. I had the great fortune to be able to visit the farmers (and to shake their hands) on our Ethiopia origin trip last year. In the case of Bogale Turki, he was also kind enough to allow me to take a photo. Now you know who the coffee came from, and if you end up joining us on a future origin trip you can congratulate him on his excellent coffee yourself. And congratulations are definitely in order, as this is a delicious lot.
I won’t beat around the coffee shrub. This was a difficult coffee for me to roast, but I don’t think it needs to be for you if you take a moment to plan before roasting, and perhaps drop the coffee a bit earlier than you might feel comfortable with. As Chris mentioned above, this coffee is small, not too dense, and has higher moisture percentage and water activity than you might expect for an Ethiopia natural coffee. This influenced my roast in a few different ways.
As you can see in the first roast (shown below), this coffee spent a significant amount of time in the drying phase, with comparatively little Maillard development time. I also reached 17.2% development. These characteristics led to a decidedly roasty roast, with some very obscured top notes. What we did get was sweet barbecue peach, chocolate, and brown sugar. Simple and sweet, but we all knew more was there. I did another roast, focusing this time on getting a more even ratio of drying time to Maillard reaction time, and reducing post crack development time. Please note that I increased fan speed to 5 at 6:05/335F, and reduced heat application to 7.5A after crack. From this, I surmised that carrying away some of the moisture generated during the drying phase would help propel my roast through the Maillard phase more effectively.
In my second roast (shown below), you can see that I started with a lower Environmental Temperature to begin this roast. I also started with a lower charge temperature. I did use 9.5A instead of 9A of heat application throughout the entire roast, however. I engaged the fan to 3 at 2:20/234F – a bit earlier than the first roast. Continuing along with this theme, I increased airflow to 5 at 4:15/293F. Lo and behold, I was able to make my way to Maillard in a significantly shorter period of time. Air carries away moisture, who woulda thunk. I reached 11.7% post crack development, and dropped the batch at 9:51/412F. The result was much more complex, with pear, raspberry, plum, and herbal/floral notes like lavender and sage.
I felt that this last roast gave a much better idea of this coffee’s potential, and I’d suggest start increasing your airflow sooner than you might with a washed coffee. Fans of a natural profile that’s super fruit-forward will appreciate the peachiness that dwells in this coffee, and fans of a smoother profile will really enjoy the sweetness available in the cup. We hope to see Bogale Turki’s coffee return next year as well!
Sometimes, I used the grounds leftover from Color Track analysis to brew an Aeropress. It’s a good way to see where the coffee is at, use a different brew method that I might usually employ, and save a small amount of coffee from going straight into the trash. In this case, I was curious to taste Evan’s first Quest roast, which was not our favorite on the cupping table but did have some tasty characteristics and significantly more developed sugars. In a 1:13 ratio Aeropress, most of what came through was chocolate, molasses, and chicory, but through the heaviness there were also intensely sweet notes of pear, cherry, blackberry, and even cardamom.
For the second roast, I broke out the V60 and brewed a 1:16 ratio with 100g pulse pours and a 30 second bloom. This cup effused with plum pear, raspberry, and peach, with some really lovely herbal notes like lavender and sage, as well as delicate florals and a date like and chocolaty base. This delightful dry processed coffee from Banko Chelchele is a lot of fun to brew, and can be so clean and sweet it may be hard to stop drinking it before hitting over-caffeination.