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overview

Overview

This is a traditional double washed coffee from Aricha, Ethiopia produced by smallholders organized around Cherab na Betesebu’s washing station.

The flavor profile is floral and jammy, with leading notes of hibiscus, peach, and ginger.

Our roasters found the coffee to need lots of heat, especially early in the roast. Pay a little extra attention to rate of rise as the coffee approaches first crack.

When brewed, the coffee offered immeasurable versatility, with excellent potential for many applications. We are featuring this coffee primarily as an espresso option at The Crown.

taste

Taste Analysis by Colin Cahill

It has been a joy joining the analytic work on this bean as a newer member of the Royal team. Excitement about its return has been building amongst the senior staff all summer and it became crystal clear upon first sip why this coffee inspires such enthusiasm. This super clean, washed coffee is jam-packed with juicy fruit flavors and elegant floral notes. It shines as a drip coffee, as an espresso, as well as a cold brew, offering awesome versatility from a bean that also highlights most of the desirable qualities associated with its origin.

source

Source Analysis by Chris Kornman & Mayra Orellana-Powell

True to form, Aricha returns to the Crown Jewel menu as a burst of floral flavors. Last year’s iteration was a well-loved espresso and cold brew at The Crown, and we’re already profiling it for service again this season.

Yirgacheffe’s famous cup profile may in fact be at least partly attributable to this very mill. Known now as Aricha, the location is in fact one and the same as Misty Valley, possibly one of the most famous pre-ECX coffee brands in the country.

When Ethiopia’s commodity exchange was established in 2008, exporters were forbidden from operating mills and farms. And so, Abdullah Bagersh sold Misty Valley and the site became Aricha, simply named for its woreda.

This coffee is sourced from 650 family-owned farms organized around the Aricha coffee mill located in the Yirgacheffe district of the Gedeo Zone within the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Regional State, Ethiopia. The Gedeo region is named after the Gedeo people who are indigenous to this area.

The Aricha mill is owned and operated by Cherab na Betesebu and his family, and the location receives ripe cherries from 650 small coffee farmers. Coffee producers deliver their ripe cherries to the Aricha coffee mill station where the cherries are sorted and then pulped. After pulping, the beans are fermented for 36 to 48 hours and then washed. The wet beans in parchment are placed on raised drying beds in thin layers and turned every 2 to 3 hours during the first few days of the drying process. Depending on weather, the beans are dried for 10 to 12 days until the moisture in the coffee beans is reduced to 11.5 percent. Then the beans are transported to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, to be milled and bagged prior to export.

green

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman

Really classic Grade 1 Ethiopian stuff here. The coffee is super dense, low in moisture and water activity, and very small in the 14-17 range with about half the lot sized at 16. This is everything you expect from a high quality washed coffee from Gedeo, and it should pose no problems in terms of shelf life. Expect it to resist heat a little and consider a higher charge temperature to compensate, if necessary.

The default “indigenous” designation for Ethiopian coffees doesn’t really do justice to the wide variety and significant agronomic work that’s been poured into the cultivars commonly grown in the country. In places like Aricha, smallholders usually grow a mix of a few controlled varieties which were either selected from wild populations for positive characteristics or bred specifically to suit a regional idiosyncrasy (such as rust, berry disease, or climate). While you won’t find legacy cultivars like Bourbon or hybrids like Catimor here, there is usually a small grouping of favored trees grown throughout the region. Landraces, like those we find more commonly as “forest coffees” in the west of the country, are generally only present as manicured selections in the south.

diedrich ir-5

Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Chris Kornman and Doris Garrido

The return of Aricha to our coffers gave Doris and me the opportunity to try out a few batches on the Diedrich before the coffee graduates to a Loring profile. Doris immediately resurrected her “Juanita Bravo” profile from two years ago, a filter drip designed to accent the coffee for pour-over.

The twist is that Doris has been exploring high airflow profiling, and switched the roaster from 50% to 100% at the turnaround, early in the roast. The move coincided with a boost to 85% burner power, though it was still insufficient to overcome the coffee’s inherent resistance due to high density. The coffee took its time moving through drying and, while she baffled back to 50% and reduced her heat gradually, she wasn’t able to extend Maillard to much more than three minutes total. A pop in the rate of rise at first crack was met with a drop to about 25% burner power (our lowest setting). The development time is nice, at 80 seconds, but ended a little on the hot side. Fortunately, the short time in Maillard and post-crack development plus the wide open airflow prevented any late-stage singes, and the internal (ground) Colortrack of 52 put her roast on the lighter end of the spectrum.

I took another look at the coffee later in the week, thinking about an espresso roast, and made a few major errors (but I’m publishing them here so we can all learn from my missteps). Initially, I waited too long to push the burner power up. This coffee needs as much heat as it can get, as early as it can get it. I made a rare move to 100% burner power at three minutes when I knew I was lagging, but the Diedrich is unforgiving and I spent over five minutes, more than 50% of the total roast, in drying stage. A brisk Maillard seemed to get me back on track and with the usual overconfidence I killed the burners briefly at first crack. With my environmental temp insufficient to overcome my error and color refusing to develop despite nearly two full minutes post crack, I baked the beans.

On the cupping table, Doris’ roast was vibrant, floral, and expressive, while mine was dull and lifeless. As we look to develop this profile further, we have a few recommendations to make:

First – Charge hot. We’d start this coffee another 10-20F hotter than these profiles on the Diedrich, and even hotter on the Loring.

Second – Gas it up early. Heat heat heat during drying to break through that high density and give you flexibility later in the roast. If you can, keep your airflow high.

Third – Keep a really close eye on your delta at first crack. This coffee will move all over the map if you let it, so anticipate a bit of a bump but don’t overcompensate. A steady hand can guide the coffee past first crack gently, but firmly.

Lastly – With regard to color, shoot for 52+ on the lightest side. We felt like any lighter and the coffee might be too bready and not floral enough.

quest m3s

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 200g batch size, and begin roasting when I’ve reached my desired charge temperature.  Read my initial post here and my updated post here.

At long last, we are seeing Ethiopian coffees arrive to our warehouse in droves. While everything is a bit later than usual this year, there’s nothing like the Aricha to bring us back down to earth and comfort our senses. Some things remain the same, thankfully!

I took a lot of cues from Chris and Doris’ notes above; they are right on point, of course. This dense coffee needs a little extra push to start off, but some close attention as the roast progresses. This roast was performed after about two other roasts, so my environmental temperature was about as hot as I like to get it on the Quest M3s, at 300F (keep in mind, this is on the front wall of the drum, and while I use it as a benchmark, it’s definitely not the actual internal environmental temperature).

Soaking up this heat at charge, my bean temperature read 390F but swiftly dropped to a low of 191F at turning point, where I turned off airflow (in counterpoint to the Diedrich roast above). My rate of rise didn’t peak very high, meaning that this coffee would move through drying phase a little slower than anticipated. I introduced fan speed to 3 at 250F / 2:45, and rate of rise began its gentle drop. At 295F / 3:58, I reduced heat application to 7.5A, and increased fan speed to full at 340F / 5:20 – this last move drastically cut my rate of rise, as expected.

To anticipate the loss of even more momentum at crack, I increased heat application back to 10A for 20 seconds before first crack, then dropped to 5A right as crack started at 383.8 / 7:18 – a slightly lower crack temperature than usual. This coffee continued to chug along after first crack, and I decided to drop at 398F / 8:30 after 1:14 post crack development.

So, it turns out that this coffee wants a bit more power than the Quest M3s can really throw at it, for the ideal roast curve, anyway. I spent more time in drying than Maillard, but that’s all well and good, because this coffee had zero problems on the cupping table. As per usual, huge lemon, honey, and jasmine came through in this cup. This is pretty much the exact coffee and flavor profile I think of when I hear ‘Yirgacheffe.’ Year after year, this coffee brings consistency and gives you a face to put with the name. If you’re looking for a classic Yirgacheffe, you’re not going to be disappointed!

ikawa

Ikawa Pro V3 Analysis by Doris Garrido

I remember serving this coffee a couple of years ago at The Crown as espresso. Tasting it again gave me an idea of how it’s going to taste when we put it back on the menu. Because of that, making an Ikawa roast analysis is exciting for me. From the last harvest to this year’s crop, this coffee has kept its quality very well.

Chris Korman, director of education, has developed three roasting profiles that we use for this analysis, and I was thrilled to see how they will affect the coffee in the cupping table.

Most Ethiopian coffees are known to be small in screen size, and this one is also dense with average moisture content. Since this is the first time I have done an Ikawa analysis, I have used the profiles randomly. My first one was the standard, shorter one: 8:03 minutes. First crack was a little late, and this roast also had a larger development percentage than the other roasts. Translating this to the cupping table we have florals, pineapple, and juice notes. This is a bright cup with honeysuckle sweetness.

The second roast was the Low AF (airflow) profile, longer by about a minute compared to the other two profiles. Development time was the longest of the three, with a little longer time spent in Maillard. We tasted honey, fresh cucumber, cherry, and some bitter chocolate with a slightly thin body.

The Maillard profile gave me the most balanced notes of the three. Bright cherry, citrus juice, sweet marmalade, plum, and dates.

Overall, I noticed that short roast time and high heat at the beginning of the roast will lead to brighter acidity in this coffee.

You can download the profile to your Ikawa Pro app here:

Roast 1:Crown Standard SR 1.0                      

Roast 2:Crown 7m SRLowAF2  

Roast 3:Crown Maillard +30 SR 1.0

brew

Brew Analysis by Colin Cahill

Zainab, Doris, and I brought out this coffee to play. We brewed it up with as many of our brewers as we could and got to sip on beautiful brew after beautiful brew. This is a bean that performs well across brew devices, and we are excited to bring it into our tasting room as an espresso. For this analysis, I want to focus on the Saint Anthony Industries (SAI) C70, which yielded our lightest extraction, and on the Bee House brewer, which yielded a much heavier extraction, to describe some of the flavors that emerged in two really different brews.

If you’ve been following our brew analyses, you’re probably picking up on the fact that we are fans of the SAI C70 for its deep cone and extra thick filters, consistently yielding a super clean brew. When we got the Aricha in the C70, it yielded a light yet juicy brew. We found layers of jammy berry notes, hints of tart hibiscus and ginger, and a delicate peach finish. It was a brew we were ready to sit with and sip on all day!

On the Bee House, which is somewhere between a conical and a flatbed brewer, we had a slower brew time by thirty seconds, yielding a richer extraction with a higher TDS reading. This yielded a syrupy, fruity brew with notes of pear, mandarin orange, and grape, with a caramel sweetness and a creamy finish. Each of the brews featured the loveliest fruit notes, and fruity coffee lovers are going to really enjoy this bean!

Origin Information

Grower
650 producers organized around Cherab na Betesebu | Aricha Mill
Variety
Indigenous Landraces & Selections
Region
Aricha, Gedeo Zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Regional State, Ethiopia
Harvest
October 2020 – January 2021
Altitude
1900 – 2100 masl
Soil
Vertisol
Process
Washed after pulping, fermented underwater for 48 hours, then soaked for 48 hours in clean spring water, and finally dried in the sun on raised beds
Certifications

Background Details

Aricha is a private washing station located in the Yirgacheffe district, in the heart of southern Ethiopia’s coveted Gedeo Zone. Gedeo is a narrow section of highland plateau dense with savvy farmers and fiercely competitive processors, and has been known commercially as Yirgacheffe for many years after the Yirgacheffe district itself, one of Ethiopia’s first areas to fully wash its coffee. 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. This particular Aricha arrival is one of the best we’ve ever seen: it has a heady fragrance of coffee blossom and jasmine tea, invigorating Meyer lemon acidity, a rich vanilla custard sweetness, and kaleidoscopic stone fruit flavors from hot to cold.  Aricha itself is deeply tied to Yirgacheffe’s legendary celebrity. Originally known as “Misty Valley” after the humidity that settles into the area at night, the processing station was run for many years by Abdullah Bagersh and was known as being one of the country’s best coffees available anywhere. “Misty Valley” became synonymous with Yirgacheffe specialty long before traceable coffee was available elsewhere, and was a foundational name and profile for many roasters’ programs throughout the 2000s. This ended with the establishment of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) in 2008: anti-corruption measures designed for the new system forbid the vertical integration of coffee businesses (i.e. processors could not also be dry millers or exporters), and as a result Bagersh sold the washing station to a private company to focus on dry milling. The buyers re-named the station simply “Aricha” after the kebele, or municipality, where it is located. The name “Misty Valley”, however, has lived on: it’s no longer tied to a specific washing station but is used as a kind of prestige marker by various processors and marketers of coffee from the Aricha and nearby Idido areas.  Present-day Aricha is owned and operated by Cherab na Betesebu and his family. The processing site receives ripe cherries from 650 small coffee farmers, who average just 2 hectares of family farmland each. After sorting for ripeness on arrival and depulping, the coffee is fermented for 36 to 48 hours and then thoroughly washed. The washed parchment coffee is then moved to raised drying beds where it is spread in very thin layers and turned every 2 to 3 hours during the first few days while it expels the majority of its moisture. Depending on weather, the beans are dried for 10 to 12 days total until the moisture in the coffee beans is reduced to 11.5 percent. Then the beans are transported to Addis Ababa to be milled and bagged for export.  Private processors like Aricha are admirable businesses. It’s tough 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 Aricha, 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.