Intro by Mayra Orellana-Powell
Bedhatu Jibicho is like family here at Royal and her family’s journey in coffee is emblematic of the recent changes in the Ethiopian export rules, which have opened new opportunities to develop relationships with vertically integrated suppliers.
Roba and Family Coffee, established by Bedhatu’s sons, is one example of a newly formed export company now directly offering lots from the Gedeb district including their mother’s coffee.
While the Roba family has expanded their reach to support other producers, we are always pleased to have an offering from Bedhatu’s 84-acre farm, which she has personally managed for over 50 years without the use of chemical inputs. Larger than most farms in the area, Bedhatu employees 20 year-round workers and another 130 seasonal workers for the harvest who are primarily women.
For this washed lot, cherries are carefully hand sorted and floated to separate out less dense beans, then depulped, fermented for 48 hours, and washed and classified again in channels. The parchment is placed on raised beds where it is hand sorted again and dried over a period of 12 to 15 days. The parchment is often covered during the afternoons to prevent harsh drying in the intense sun.
As a family owned business, emphasis on social impact in the communities where they source coffee is taking shape. The Roba family has invested in more localized cherry collection sites to reduce the transportation cost for other producers. They have also contributed to road construction projects that make travel a bit easier for everyone.
A lush, floral, and evocative coffee in years past, this season’s harvest is among the nicest of these “classic Yirgacheffe” style coffees we’ve come across. Jasmine and peach center the coffee’s flavor with supporting notes of citrus blossom, fresh basil, juicy mango, and zesty, fresh-squeezed lemonade. In a year of spectacular washed Ethiopian coffees, this perennial gem has managed to shine somehow brighter, not just embodying the flavors we love, but also the ethos of sustainability of the systems and resiliency of the people responsible for placing it in our hands.
Green Analysis by Nate Lumpkin
This coffee from Ethiopia comes to us with somewhat above average density, somewhat below average moisture content, and somewhat below average water activity. It is nicely sorted, with screen size tightly clustered around screens 15 and 16. These metrics should make for an easier time roasting and storage in good conditions, and its tight screen size should help with evenness in roasting, though its higher density may cause it to resist heat early in the roast. Consider trying a higher charge for best results.
The cultivars represented here are referred to as “indigenous landraces,” which simply refers to the many hybrids and selected cultivars available in Ethiopia. For those curious, critical genetic banks of arabica are kept at the Jimma Agricultural Research Center (JARC) and two fields maintained by the Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute (EBI), and Getu Bekele and Timothy Hill’s book Ethiopian Coffee Varieties does an excellent job documenting Ethiopia’s cultivars.
Ikawa Analysis by Nate Lumpkin
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.
Though I’ve spent a lot of time roasting on Ikawas since joining the Crown, and I’ve tasted plenty of the coffees I’ve roasted, I haven’t yet had the chance to compare different roasts, and I was particularly excited to dig into this washed Ethiopia from Yirgacheffe. We’ve had quite a few Ethiopias coming through in recent weeks, and they’ve all been delicious, and this one was no different. Since this was my first time exploring a roast analysis like this I decided to go with the three standard roast profiles we usually use, though I’m looking forward to modifying them in the future!
On two of the roasts, crack happened a little quickly—it’s possible that this small, dense coffee soaks up the heat a little quickly. On our longest, low airflow profile it acted more or less like I expected it to, and it turns out that was the favorite of my roasts, while the hotter, shorter roasts ended up tasting a little simpler, with a narrower flavor profile and fewer interesting sugar browning notes.
The low airflow profile, the longest and my favorite, had a boozy and sweet aroma, with notes in the cup of mandarin, cherry jam, green grape, and lime. It was sparkling and complex with a slightly puckery finish.
The shortest and hottest profile, which is our standard profile, had some interesting notes of blueberry jam, raspberry, and caramel, but also showed some slight nutty bitterness, like walnut skin. Not my favorite.
The Maillard +30 profile, with a longer development time after first crack than the low airflow profile, ended up being a little simple, with flavors of cherry skin, tangerine, white sugar, and a brown sugar caramel finish. This was still a nice and mellow cup, but with fewer acids than I would like from a washed Ethiopia like this one.
It seems that the more delicate juiciness and acidity shines with a lighter roast, and this coffee seems eager to crack a little early, so consider being a little careful with heat if you want to experience everything this coffee has to offer.
You can download the profile to your Ikawa Pro app here:
Roast 1: Crown Maillard +30 SR 1.0
Roast 2: Crown Standard SR 1.0
Roast 3: Crown 7m SR Low AF
Behmor Analysis by Evan Gilman
Unless otherwise noted, I follow a set standard of operations for all my Behmor roasts. Generally, I’ll use the 1lb setting, manual mode (P5), full power, and high drum speed until crack. Read my original post and stats here.
This delectable selection was one of my absolute favorites last year, so I was very enthusiastic when I received this very clean green coffee. Taking a look at it, it’s quite small in terms of screen size. I didn’t have trouble bringing this coffee up to first crack, but I wanted to roast all the coffees (CJ1376 and CJ1377 too) a little lighter this week so I approached things a little differently.
Using P5 for 100% power and high drum speed, I kept heat on this coffee all the way through the roast. At 10:10, first crack began in earnest, but beware the many smaller puffs that this coffee puts out, trying to trick you into thinking a real crack has begun. I opened the door fully just after first crack, and let this coffee roll for another 45 seconds. Yes, only 45 seconds of post-crack development!
On the cupping table, there wasn’t a trace of smokiness. I attribute most of this to keeping the door open all the way through crack, but also to my strict cleaning regimen. Bright lemon acidity, sweet and clean cherry (think bing cherry, freshly picked), and subtle nectarine came through nicely. For a washed Ethiopian coffee, it doesn’t get much more nostalgic than this one, riddled as it is with jasmine florality. There’s even a touch of that elusive complex herbal note that this region of Ethiopia is so famous for.
If you’re looking for a coffee that is so easy drinking that your cup will always seem empty at second glance (in an optimistic way, friends), this is a prime choice. Perhaps the cleanest of the clean. Drink up!
Brew Analysis by Alex Taylor
Cut to: a quiet Thursday afternoon at The Crown. The post-shawarma drowsies are setting in. We need coffee. Enter: this beautiful washed Ethiopia from perennial favorite, Bedhatu Jibicho; we’re saved!
If you’re a Crown Jewel regular, you’ve probably read about how I love washed Ethiopias, so I’ll spare you my rant this time. But Bedhatu Jibicho’s coffees are among the handful of coffees that stood out so much last year that we’ve basically spent 2020 looking forward to this year’s crop!
I often enjoy washed Ethiopias as lighted (lower TDS) brews, and have found that they can benefit from higher extractions, so I really tried to push it here. I cranked the dial to 7 on the EKs, which is pretty much the finest I’ve gone with success, and brewed to a 1:18 brew ratio. On top of all that, I lowered my pulse pours to 60g each, thereby increasing the overall amount of agitation during the brew. All this with the hopes of pushing the extraction higher. As a side effect, I wound up with brews at 6:00 and 5:15 (I coarsened the grind for the second brew), which I would typically consider in the “laughable” range. But they were big brews, and good coffee, so I wasn’t too concerned.
And would you believe it, this coffee delivered! Zesty lemon and black tea aromatics, super sweet and juicy peach, even some mango, and cardamom and milk chocolate all swirled harmoniously in the cup. The initial lemon and black tea explosion evoked memories of Arnold Palmers in the sun on a hot day (remember when we could go outside?), and the sweet cardamom and milk chocolate notes took me back to fresh cardamom buns and chocolate croissants in Stockholm (if you’ve never had a cardamom bun, you need to add that to your bucket list). This is a super delicious coffee, and if it can taste this good in spite of a 6:00 brew time, then you will truly be able to find delight in the coffee no matter how you brew it!