Crown Jewel Ethiopia Organic Gedeb Halo Beriti Raised Bed Natural

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This is a traditional raised bed-dried natural coffee from Gedeo, Ethiopia, produced by the smallholder coffee growing community of Halo Beriti, associated with METAD’s Hambela Coffee Estate.

The flavor profile is dense and complex, and less berry-like than some natural Ethiopias. We found flavors of dark chocolate, plum, peach, blackberry, clove, and honeysuckle to be prominent among a host of other tastes.

Our roasters found the coffee to tend to race a bit at first crack and encourage careful heat management approaching the end of Maillard Reactions.

When brewed, the coffee was surprisingly full-bodied and easily shows off bright fruity notes as a pour-over.

Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman

This is a fun and elegant natural coffee that veers a little off the beaten path in flavor profile from the usual “berries and grapes” notes. While there are certainly some tartaric notes on display (we picked up blackberry, notably) there are also a number of complex and unique flavors here, making this Halo Beriti an unusual, unexpectedly delightful experience.

Dark chocolate and cherry hold down the fort while supporting notes of peach, plum, clove, honeysuckle vie for your tastebud’s attention. However, a little more quietly, there is a rich complexity here of tertiary flavors. We noted floral hints from Thai basil to bergamot, and elegant riffs on yellow fruit notes like passionfruit, pineapple, and lemon custard. There’s much to uncover here, and we’ve really only scratched the surface of possibilities.

Source Analysis by Chris Kornman

With immense anticipation, natural Ethiopian coffees have returned to the Crown Jewel menu, and we’re kicking off the (long-delayed) season with a stunner. Halo Beriti was so popular last year (also our first natural Ethiopia of the season) it sold out in less than 24 hours, and was accompanied by the now-legendary phrase, “If you drink one Ethiopian Raised Bed Natural this year, make it this one.” I won’t make that claim again (for fear of being trampled) but this is certainly an exceptional offering, and one you don’t want to miss.

The Hambela region is home to an estate, washing stations, and collection points owned and operated by METAD Agricultural Development PLC. The family-run company was gifted property by Emperor Selassie in honor of the matriarch, Muluemebet Emiru, the first African woman pilot. METAD is now managed by her grandson Aman Adinew, and its export partner Rift Valley Trading LLC is operated by his brother Michael Adinew. Among the many important pieces of work undertaken by METAD are their commitment to equal employment opportunities for women and education opportunities for the youth of the coffeelands, their early partnerships with Grounds for Health, and their development of Africa’s first SCA certified lab.

In the field, not only have they established their own harvesting sites, but they have partnered with smallholder associations. They don’t simply buy the coffee cherry from the local farmers, but they provide them with pre- and post-harvest trainings. These trainings include agriculture and business management help, with the intention of reaching beyond simply getting better coffee to create better, mores sustainable communities.

Halo Beriti is selected from one such smallholder association. We fell in love with a washed version of this coffee back in 2017 (subsequently using its name as a secret greeting) and I can’t tell you how thrilled we are to have its fruit-dried iteration back in our coffers. This coffee will not last long, don’t sleep on it.

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman

A wonderful coffee here accompanied by exemplary physical specs. As expected, this fruit-dried Ethiopia is dense to the extreme with a moderately low moisture and water activity. Unusually, the screen size skews large, with a really nice narrow distribution between 16-19, and over 70% in just two screens: 17/18.

While there are certainly true heirloom coffees grown in much of Ethiopia, it’s also true that a relatively small number of highly controlled cultivars — both lab-crafted hybrids and selected landraces — are often the main components of specialty coffees throughout the nation. The selections have not been denoted here for us, but it’s fair to assume they are similar stock to the greater southern coffee regions, hearty and well adapted for cultivation in this, one of the world’s most coveted terroirs.

Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Chris Kornman

Balance is often the key to achieving really great roasts of fruit-dried coffees like this esteemed offering from Halo Beriti. I’ve recognized a tendency for these dense, dry naturals to race during and after first crack when I sample roast them, and wanted to try and mitigate that possibility as much as I could in the Diedrich. That said, I also didn’t want to spend too much time in the early drying stage, as there wasn’t that much moisture here to work through and I knew the elevated density would prove difficult to penetrate without sufficient, early heat.

I charged a little on the hot side at 395F with an idle drum at 30% burner power and 50% airflow. Just before the turn at 1:25 I kicked my burners up to 85% and opened up the airflow. Anticipating color change and wanting to extend Maillard reactions a bit, I dropped gas to 60% and re-baffled the air back to 50%. You can see in the graph the rate of rise dip sharply in response, allowing me to eek out some extra time during browning.

Toward the end of Maillard I began to incrementally drop my burners and as soon as I heard a first pop I opened the airflow up to mitigate smoke and chaff. As predicted, the coffee continued to roast regardless of the low burner setting, and I cut the burners completely a full 45 seconds prior to the drop, which finally had an effect on the heat delta.

I watched color change and kept an eye out to avoid a full stall, discharging the coffee with 15% development ratio (but check than nice, long, 40% Maillard time!). First crack for this coffee is vigorous, and continued in the cooling tray after I dropped the batch. The ground Colortrack reading of 52.5 was on the light side, despite a slightly darker exterior appearance and nearly 13% weight loss. The cup was good clean fun: floral notes of bergamot accompanied the expected, elegant tropical flavors like mango, peach nectar, pineapple, and lychee. A solid first effort for what looks to be a rewarding (if belated) natural Ethiopia arrival season.

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. 

Some folks will have noticed by now that we are getting a good deal of Ethiopian coffees in the Crown Jewel program. If you ask me, I’ll never tire of them because they are all so uniquely tasty and easy to work with. This is another such coffee in a long line of delicious Ethiopian offerings, and a name that I see year after year as well.  

This is a super dense and fairly dry coffee, and I decided to hit it with a little more heat than usual at charge. Starting at 388F, I made sure this coffee got plenty of push, but also plenty of airflow by starting in early with 3 fan at 230F / 2:05. Before Maillard, I adjusted heat application down to 7.5A at 285F / 3:20, then increased fan speed to full mid-Maillard at 330F / 4:35. I wanted to reduce my delta going into the later stages of Maillard, well before first crack.  

Just before first crack, I reduced heat again to 5A at 380F / 6:36, and cut heat entirely at crack to allow this coffee to continue through first crack without so much as a push. The coffee had (as many fruit dried coffees do) its own ideas, and continued merrily through first crack at a good clip. I managed to get 11.9% time spent in post-crack development before dropping the coffee at 399.7F. I would have liked a touch more, but this turned out to be just fine in the cup. Much like Chris, I found this coffee was still popping as I dropped it out of the roaster, though it was clearly well-developed. 

And what a cup it was – this coffee smelt positively of bright dried cherries during the roast, something that carried very well into the cup. Another smell I got on roasting that didn’t show up in the cup was kocho, that fermented paste of enset that is a common staple food in Ethiopia. Any fermenty flavors like this were totally overwhelmed by clean pineapple and a sweetness like vanilla wafer cookies with frosting. Yes, there was stonefruit, but this wasn’t quite as well distinguished in my roast as were the cherries and fresh tropical fruit flavors. This is certainly not a berry bomb, but it has all the clean and bright fruit of a colorful fruit salad, plus all the syrupy sugar you could wish for. Yum, and cheers to crisp fruit dried coffees! 

Brew Analysis by Nate Lumpkin

This fascinating coffee ended up surprised me with how it acted on pour-over. This is the first natural processed Ethiopia I’ve had the chance to taste this year, and I greatly enjoyed its classic character: bright and juicy fruits, tropicals, and a candied chocolate-like body and finish.

I chose to brew this coffee on the Hario V60 and the Bee House. On the V60, a versatile and easy to use dripper, this coffee brewed through at a reliable 3:31, with a TDS of 1.35 and an extraction of 18.92%. In the cup, we tasted a variety of bright fruit notes, such as blueberry, peach, maraschino cherry, red grape, and plum, with a honeysuckle florality and vanilla finish, and a heavy, tactile body. We liked this cup so much that we’re choosing to feature this on our pour-over bar, though we’ve decided to coarsen up the grind a touch, in order to decrease its heavy body.

On the Bee House dripper, this coffee brewed in almost exactly the same time, at 3:29, but showed a much higher TDS and extraction at 1.46 and 21.44% respectively. This higher extraction showed itself as a syrupy, caramelized quality which tasted to me like root beer or cherry cola, with some darker fruits notes like blackberry, pomegranate, baked plum, and lemon custard, as well as some spices like all spice, clove, and even thai basil. I thought this cup was really delicious and thick, and though my personal preference is for the V60, I’d recommend a dripper of this style if you prefer a heavier, more candy-like cup.

Coffee Background

This coffee is sourced from METAD Agricultural Development PLC (METAD). METAD is a third-generation family owned business with a rich history that began after World War II when the Ethiopian Emperor awarded Muluemebet Emiru, the first African female pilot and family matriarch, with land in the Guji and Sidama zones that has become the Hambela Coffee Estate. METAD is managed by Aman Adinew who returned to Ethiopia after many years working abroad at the executive level for multiple fortune 500 companies because he wanted to make a difference for his family and community. Through Aman’s leadership, METAD has strengthened the local community with employment opportunities including a workforce that is over seventy percent women, educational opportunities including university scholarships and sponsorship for a state-of-the-art elementary school with more than 700 students, and healthcare for employees. METAD was also first to partner with Grounds for Health in Ethiopia to implement a successful cervical cancer screening program for women within the coffee growing communities. METAD has an expanding Out-grower program designed to provide technical assistance, share modern farming equipment, and provide certification programs for more than 5,000 local farmers who are paid premiums for their cherry and second payments after coffee is sold. Quality and certification premiums have also helped METAD build roads and community centers. METAD has the first and only private state-of-the-art SCAA certified coffee quality control lab on the African continent used to train both domestic and international coffee professionals.