Intro by Chris Kornman and Charlie Habegger
We’ve taken a lot of pride in getting granular with the origins of our Crown Jewel offerings. Ethiopian coffees, for example, are frequently denoted by the specific kebele (neighborhood). We almost never lump coffees from the greater Gedeo Zone into a generic “Yirgacheffe” profile, instead trying to preserve that designation specifically for coffee from the town that bears that name.
This Dumerso coffee, named both for the washing station and kebele it comes from, is indeed a true Yirgacheffe, located within the designated woreda surrounding the town, in the heart of the coveted Gedeo Zone—the narrow section of highland plateau dense with savvy farmers and fiercely competitive processors.
The kebele Dumerso itself is a prestigious one within a conspicuous region, producing numerous Crown Jewel caliber coffees in the past from cooperatives and private washing stations alike. As a coffee terroir, Yirgacheffe has for decades been considered a benchmark for beauty and complexity in arabica coffee—known for being beguilingly ornate and jasmine-like when fully washed, and seductively punchy and sweet when sundried–and hardly requires an introduction.
The Dumerso station is owned and operated by Dirshaye Ferenju and his family. Dumerso’s contributing farmers number over 800, and average about four acres of farmland each. Private processors like Dumerso are a thing to behold. It’s a tough business being a private processor in Gedeo, as the sheer density of competition among washing stations tends to push cherry prices as high as double throughout a single harvest, and privates often don’t have the backing of a larger union to secure financing, regulate cherry prices, or bring export costs down with centralized milling and marketing.
Successful private washing stations like Dumerso, then, need to be not only standout quality processors to stay afloat; they must also be excellent business developers with connections and community standing, in order to continue winning the business of farmers and buyers alike, and stay afloat for the long term.
This coffee is expressive; blackberry and blueberry notes are front and center but not overpowering. In fact, its complexity is highlighted by delicate floral notes that evoke memories of jasmine and citrus blossoms and honeysuckle, while supporting notes of vanilla, lemon, and dark chocolate round off the experience. It’s a delightful, clean addition to our robust lineup of Ethiopian coffees for the season, and we’re thrilled to add it to the collection.
Green Analysis by Nate Lumpkin
This natural-processed coffee from Ethiopia comes to us with somewhat above average density, somewhat below average moisture content, and somewhat below average water activity. As is typical for high quality Ethiopian coffees, it is well sorted into a small screen size tightly clustered around sizes 15 and 16, with only small amounts of coffee falling outside of that. Coffee with green metrics like these should perform consistently in the roast, though its high density may lead to it resisting heat, so consider using a higher charge temperature for best results.
The term “indigenous landrace” refers to the local varieties of Ethiopia chosen that grow best in their native environment. 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
As of September 2020 we are running all Crown Jewel Analysis roasts on a brand new Ikawa Pro V3, using the most recent app and firmware version on “closed loop” setting.
I was excited to taste this new Ethiopia. Even though I’ve had my hands full of delicious Ethiopian coffees, I’m a sucker for a juicy natural, and this one is no different. Luckily, every way I roasted this coffee turned out so delicious that I have a hard time recommending one over the others.
For our first hot and fast standard profile, the cup ended up very sweet but delicate like white tea, with notes of pink apple, lemon, cherry, and white sugar. It had a slight burnt cherry-skin finish that was a little distracting, which I suspect has to do with the speed of the roast.
Our second profile lengthened the Maillard phase, and ended up with a very clean and sweet cup, like blueberry juice. In the cup, I tasted notes of key lime, honeysuckle, blueberry, milk chocolate, and raw sugar. I think the longer Maillard phase really allowed the sugar browning notes of milk chocolate and raw sugar to open up.
Our last low and slow profile, which had been giving me trouble in the past on our new V3, went off without a hitch. In the cup it tasted delicate and bright, with notes of cucumber, jasmine, blueberry, and lemon, and very little of the sugar browning notes I tasted in the other roasts.
My personal preference is probably for the second hotter roast, with the longer Maillard phase, but all of these roasts were delicious. If you want a more delicate and floral coffee, consider trying a longer and cooler roast, while if you want more of the bright acidities and chocolates, consider trying something a little hotter. I hope I get the chance to taste this on pour-over!
You can download the profile to your Ikawa Pro app here:
Roast 1: Crown Standard SR 1.0
Roast 2: Crown Maillard +30 SR 1.0
Roast 3: Crown 7m SR Low AF
Probatino Analysis by Alex Taylor
It’s certainly starting to feel like Ethiopia season is winding down, so I’m trying to savor every last drop of new Crown Jewel arrivals as they roll through for analysis! This new natural coffee from Dumerso certainly looks promising. Above average density, tight screen size sorting, and slightly below average moisture content mean roasting this coffee should be a breeze!
Should be a breeze, but I didn’t set myself up for success here. I was in a bit of a rush, which led to me warming up the roaster a little too quickly and aggressively, which meant the Probatino was hot hot hot at the beginning of the roast. I had a “on-the-smaller-side” batch size too, but to mix things up a little, I went with a slightly higher charge temperature. Not so high as to risk tipping or scorching, but I wanted to really jump-start the chemical reactions taking place in the first stage of the roast to capture whatever juicy, fruity notes lay in store in this coffee.
I was fully expecting this roast to run hot and quick, and that’s pretty much exactly what happened! The coffee turned around about 20 degrees hotter than the generic reference profile I was using and stayed hot through most of the roast. The part that really threw me (and in retrospect shows me the roaster was way too hot when I started the roast) was how little gas I had to apply to this roast. While I typically turn the gas from our lowest setting to the highest setting around the 1 minute mark, for this roast I waited until 2:00 to turn up the gas, and I only turned it up halfway. The roast continued to run hot, and I started stepping back down around 370F (since I was already only at half gas), and came to terms with the fact that this roast would be super short. BUT, a real silver lining here, the coffee did respond nicely to gas adjustments. So I was able to effectively slow the roast way down as I approached first crack. At this point, the coffee threw me another curveball and didn’t crack until 400F. Super fun when you’re hoping to end the roast at 401 or 402! But again, I had managed to slow the roast down enough that I was able to eke out around 55 seconds of post crack development and still end the roast at only around 403-404F. Not too bad. And when I looked back at the roast, it actually looked great! I doubt I’ll ever be able to recreate it though. But I was very curious to see how this tasted on the cupping table.
What a pleasant surprise, this roast tasted great! The fragrance was full of blueberry, caramel, and cocoa. My first sips added more juiciness with notes of raspberry, blackberry, and lemon to go with the blueberry. A nice creamy vanilla note joined the caramel, and the finish was all dark chocolate and fudge! As the cup cooled, the blackberry and blueberry notes deepened and turned towards jams or preserves, and the fudge note intensified, all of which gave the coffee a really delightful velvety, syrupy body and a heavy, but pleasant finish.
The roast mishap was definitely user error and not at all the coffee’s fault! As I pointed out, the coffee actually behaved nicely in the roaster, and boasted an incredibly complex, clean and sweet cup through it all. So if you’re in need of a cooperative but resilient coffee to add to the mix, this could be the one for you!
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, 225g green coffee, manual mode (P5), full power, and high drum speed until crack. Read my original post and stats here.
The Dumerso washing station – in this case providing a coffee sans washing – has always been one of my favorites upon arrival at Royal. Generally we see natural coffees later in the harvest season, but for fans of the fruit, that means the best is saved for last. Dumerso is a classic example of a clean and fruity natural coffee, and I’m happy to see it back in the house.
Very similar to Alex’s roast above, my roast of the Dumerso Natural on the Behmor didn’t crack until very late. I roasted this coffee along with other natural coffees a couple weeks back, and it performed differently from the others, without question.
Starting off with my usual parameters (225g coffee, high heat application), I tried to get this coffee through drying and into Maillard stage as quickly as the Behmor allows. I wanted to anticipate first crack by leveling out my heat application, so I lowered heat to 75% using P4 at 9:30, at right about the same time as my other natural roasts. Simultaneously, I cracked the door for 15 seconds to abate some smoke, since this is a natural coffee with a good amount of chaff. My adjustment turned out to be a little too soon; I didn’t hear the start of first crack after a minute of P4, so I raised the heat application back up to P5 at 10:45. A little less than a minute later, and I finally had crack at 11:35! This was definitely later than normal. I opened the door of the roaster as crack began, and cooled the roast after a scant 45 seconds of development.
I recommend keeping full heat on this coffee for as long as possible due to that later crack. I must say that I didn’t even get a hint of smoke on the cupping table, however. The coffee performed remarkably, with bright, clean lemon, crisp strawberry tartness, gentle floral notes (violet, perhaps?), and a dark chocolate backing. Upon cooling, more of the quinic acid notes came out, and I got a sort of fresh pomelo (pleasant) bitterness.
This is a superbly clean natural coffee. For fans of the huge berry bomb, this might not be your jam. But for those of you out there who prefer a crisply fruity natural, the Dumerso is a refreshing and tasty option!
Brew Analysis by Elise Becker
I’ve very much been enjoying all of the Ethiopian coffee we’ve tasted this season, and was certainly happy to brew and consume this one. I was expecting something sweet, creamy, and fruity, and this Dumerso delivered on all three!
I had the pleasure of brewing two different roasts of this coffee side by side, Evan’s Behmor roast, and Alex’s from the Probatino. I was interested to see how the two roasts would taste when brewed exactly the same. I pulled out my trusty glass Kalita for my brew comparison, kept all variables identical, and tasted with the team.
The Behmor roast produced a very drinkable cup brewed by Kalita. We picked out fruity flavors such as apricot, passionfruit, dried cranberry, orange zest, and baked apple. It had a pleasantly boozy feel, and a deliciously dark chocolatey balance.
When swapping to the Kalita of the Probatino roast, we transitioned from dark chocolate to milk chocolate. A malty, boozy element remained in the whiskey-like finish, yet the cup was also bursting with fruit! We traded the baked apple for a fresher granny smith, the apricot for a juicy peach, and gained a berry bouquet – blackberry, blueberry, even strawberry. The cup was exceptionally smooth, and featured a caramel sweetness and a creamy mouthfeel like a toasted marshmallow melting on your tongue.
For due diligence I pulled out the C70 and ran the Probatino roast through it as well, using the same brew specs. The buttery mouthfeel prevailed here as well, and we still tasted the juicy berries and stonefruit that made the other cups shine. The boozy aspect was here transformed to more of a merlot; easy drinking and softly tannic, ripe and darkly fruited with blueberry, blackberry and grape.