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Intro by Chris Kornman
There’s a good bit to unpack here, but let’s start with the important stuff: this is a super fun coffee. A smattering of subtle stone fruit flavors like peach and apricot pair nicely with a cinnamon and honey and nut butter sweetness. Light melon and cantaloupe accents match a whisper of florality for a final flourish. It’s not a screamer, but it is a very sweet coffee with a lot of subtle complexity.
The washing station at Hafursa Waro, operated by Tracon, has “12 standardized fermentation tanks… and more than 160 drying beds [with] their own codes. By using this number we can control and track the processing status.”
For this lot, Hafursa Waro have employed a technique quite similar to what Central American farms have been calling honey process. Using minimal water for pulping, the coffee is neither washed nor pile fermented, but simply taken directly from the depulper to the drying tables, where workers regularly and actively turn the coffee to ensure it dries evenly. For this reason, we’ve elected to dub the lot “Tej” processed, a play on the naming convention. In Ethiopia, tej is a very local, very common sweet and sour libation not unlike mead, created by fermenting honey then aging and adding herbs and spices. We felt this was appropriate nomenclature, given the unconventional processing method and nod to a distinctly Ethiopian product.
Hafursa Waro is located within the Yirgacheffe district, in Gedeo. We see so many coffees from Gedeo (the larger “zone”) labelled Yirgacheffe, it can get a little confusing disambiguating. Part of the reason for this is that Gedeo’s cooperative union operates under the name Yirgacheffe (YCFCU)… but technically speaking Yirgacheffe woreda (district or town) is just one of many such localized districts within Gedeo.
Another reason for the popularity of using Yirgacheffe in coffee nomenclature is the town’s unique history in Ethiopian coffee production. Per Tracon, “wet processing was introduced into Ethiopian in the 1970’s, and Yirgacheffe was the location of the very first wet processing mill.” Perhaps one of the reasons the woreda was chosen for this was the relative abundance of local water sources — loosely translated, Yirgacheffe could be rendered “Water town.”
The irony, of course, is that this coffee is processed using minimal water. Regardless, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable and very unique coffee you’d be remiss not to try.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Classic Ethiopian style preparation here: exceptionally high in density, relatively low in water activity and moisture content, and generally very small in size. You’ll very likely need to push this coffee a little harder than usual up until it hits first crack.
Here, as with the Ethiopian Crown Jewel selections we’ve highlighted in the past, I’ve begun to shy away from the term “heirloom” in most cases, as it does a disservice to the wide array of genetic variation and significant work steeped in Ethiopia’s forests and mountains. Many so-called “indigenous heirloom varieties” are in fact hybrids or selected cultivars. That being said, there’s probably a sense in which many Ethiopian cultivars have indeed been passed down generationally through the hands of small farmers, preserving locally unique genetic material. Most plant biologists prefer to use the term “landrace” to describe these types of local selections, born of circumstance or necessity.
Ikawa Analysis by Chris Kornman
We’ve updated our V2 Ikawa Pro machines with the latest Firmware version (24) and run on “closed loop” setting. Our roasters underwent full service in October of 2018 which included replacement heating elements and an updated PT 1000 temperature sensor, and were recalibrated in September 2019.
We’ve taken a long break from Ikawa profiles lately. Our machines had fallen out of calibration and were sent out for service in London at Ikawa HQ. Back in hand, I spent the better part of a day dialing in new profiles on the machines. My first attempt was to recreate minute-for-minute a manual sample roast profile using time and temperature cues. I’m not fully satisfied with the result, and will be the first to admit I’m trying to force a square peg into a round hole. However, the cupping panel responded with overall positive notes, commenting on the tea-like structure and prevalent floral notes. This roast is logged as “Crown 7.5 sample roast ck2” and displays in blue on the graph.
The other roast here (in red) is more in line with my prior profiles, this one originally designed for high density small bean natural Ethiopian coffees, with new airflow adjustments made to (a) prevent beans from jumping out of the chamber and into the chaff collector and (b) prevent the beans from stalling on the heating element. The result was, again, a little short of my standards but well within the range of acceptability, showcasing a little more of the coffee’s fruity side and sweet/savory combo with notes like guava and jackfruit and kiwi.
Feel free to play with these profiles a bit – my next steps will be to shorten the post-crack development a bit on the 7:30 sample roast, and to attempt to create sufficient development without stalling for the 6 minute profile. I’ll likely try some shorter profiles in the future, as well, as these seem to work best with such small batches and my goal with the Ikawa is for it to perform (at least for these analyses) more like a sample roaster than a production machine.
Probatino Analysis by Alex Taylor
With all the fuss about washed and natural coffees from Ethiopia, I was happy to hear something a little different was coming up next! Call it “honey”, call it “Tej”, this is a real fun coffee! I took a peek at the green coffee specs and a few previous roasts of coffees with similar specs before coming up with a game plan. I didn’t think much out of the ordinary would be needed to roast this coffee nicely, so I stuck with my go-to roast plan for the first roast: low gas for the first 30s, crank it up to 3 just after the turnaround point, and step off the gas a minute after color change and again just before first crack. I’ve had a few small-ish Probatino roasts stall right after first crack recently, so I made the call on the fly to disregard my final gas reduction, and I was glad I did! The coffee seemed to release more water vapor than usual around first crack, which resulted in the coffee slowing the roast down all on its own. After giving the coffee about 1:15 of post-crack development, I ended the roast with a final temperature of 403, which was maybe a hair hotter than I was hoping for, but perfectly acceptable nonetheless.
The first roast went so smoothly, that I decided to really change things up for the second roast, if for no other reason than to have something to talk about. The second half of the first roast was so easy that I thought I may be able to find a sweet spot and roast this coffee all the way through without making any gas adjustments. So I increased my charge temperature by 5 degrees and set the gas to 2.5 right from the start. I was so close! The roast lagged just a little bit more than I hoped during the first and second stages of the roast, leading to an extended roast duration. This roast lasted 7:27, with 1:01 post-crack development, and a whopping 4:10 in the 2nd stage! While longer than usual, I didn’t expect this roast time to be inherently problematic, and the long second stage had me hoping for elevated sweetness. To the cupping table we go!
On the cupping table, the differences between these two roasts were much more subtle than I expected them to be. Sure, the first roast had a higher acidity and was brighter overall – we tasted lots of peach, apricot, and melon. And the second roast yielded a deeper sweetness in the form of chocolate, honey, nougat, and cocoa, but both cups carried through the melon notes we tasted in other roasts of this coffee, and they had a delightful, floral finish. In a sense, it was reassuring that the coffee turned out to be delicious no matter how I roasted it. If I had to make a second attempt at both of these roasts, I might cut the post-crack development of the first roast by about 15 seconds, and I would increase the charge temperature of the second roast by another 5 degrees, to try to help push it through the first and second stages of the roast just a touch faster.
Quest M3s Analysis by Evan Gilman
Unless otherwise noted, I follow a set standard of operations for all my Quest roasts. Generally, I’ll allow the machine to warm up for 15 minutes until my environmental temperature reading is at least 250F, weigh out 150g batch size, and begin roasting when I’ve reached my desired charge temperature. Read my initial post here and my updated post here.
I had the opportunity to visit this washing station during Royal’s 2017 Origin Trip. Hafursa was at that time only producing fully washed coffees, but they had recently installed new raised beds for drying. Perhaps some of those were used to produce this fantastic lot of “Tej” / honey processed coffee!
This coffee performed extraordinarily well in the Quest M3s. Contrary to what I believed given the green stats (low moisture content, small screen size), I did not need to apply more heat than usual to this coffee. In fact, the Environmental Temperature of the Quest carried this coffee along quite sufficiently (I had warmed up the barrel by roasting a big batch of Balinese coffee). My roast of this coffee was a bit shy of typical.
I started with my fan on full, and kept it that way (instead of cutting airflow at Turning Point). My ET was quite high (at 297F) and I experienced a pretty strong rate of rise, which led me to reduce heat application to 7.5A at 2:10 / 273F – this coffee was really cooking through Drying Phase. At 5:20 / 360F the coffee had slowed down a bit more quickly than I desired, so I reduced my fan speed to 3 until First Crack, when I turned it back up to full to abate smoke from the roasting chamber. I dropped this coffee shy of 400F at 396.4F.
On the cupping table, this coffee did have the expected fruit and floral notes, but folks thought this particular roast had a very clear cantaloupe note. I myself found stonefruit as well, in the form of cooked peach, and ‘honey nut cheerios’ was thrown out a couple times. One thing that I believe could be improved with this roast is something I’ve noticed over time: high ET (300F and above) tends to lead to a slight metallic flavor in the cup. I would recommend keeping the ET below 300F to avoid this note. Even though I was the only one to mention the metallic note in this roast, I was still very aware of it.
This coffee is excellent for nearly any preparation method. We were thinking of serving it at The Crown as a drip coffee, but it has taken the place of our current Ethiopia Single Origin espresso. Huzzah!
Brew Analysis by Alex Taylor
Whereas I typically make two (or more) brews of the same roast for brew analysis, I decided to mix it up a little this week and brew one cup (with similar specs) of two different roasts. Last week’s roasting of this coffee left us with a few notably different roasts, so I thought it would be fun to try to taste the difference between the roasts in a brewed cup, as opposed to just on the cupping table. After all, you don’t cup coffee in your kitchen every morning (or maybe you do, who knows).
After a handful of experimental brews to see what sort of device might yield the tastiest cups, I settled on the v60. A few brews on devices with slightly thicker paper filters left us wanting a little more out of the coffee, but the thinner v60 filter let more of that goodness through, leading to some brews that really sparkled! I opted for a 1:15 brew ratio, and pretty standard specs for the rest of the brew. The resulting cups had very similar TDS readings and extraction yields, but boy could we taste a difference between the two brews!
The first brew (PR 2092 from the roast analysis above) was absolutely bursting with bright acidity! Lemon, pear, apricot, kiwi, and peach immediately came to the forefront, with a nice butterscotch and caramel sweetness rounding out the cup. The second brew (PR 2093) also featured lots of complex acidity up front, but in a more balanced and nuanced way. We tasted raspberry, guava, melon, peach, and orange peel, followed by loads of brown sugar, vanilla, and caramel, topped of with a tea-like and super floral finish! I have to admit, I was expecting to prefer the first roast in a brewed cup, but the second was actually much more balanced. This coffee has so much complexity packed into it that I think the second, longer roast allowed more of those flavors to develop fully, letting them coexist in the cup instead of trying to shout over one another. I think you’ll be pleased with this coffee no matter how you brew it. If you do find it lacking that special something something though, try using a thinner filter or even going full immersion brew. If you’re still not sure about this coffee, just swing by the Tasting Room at The Crown; we’ll have this coffee on the espresso bar (and cold brew) starting in the first or second week of November. Come say hi and try a shot!