This was a real surprise coffee to me. I was looking for a fruit forward bean, but instead found a flavor profile like a Yemen. It’s got a smooth mouthfeel and moderately heavy body. The flavors are complex, with dried fruit and earthy undertones. It’s got that Yemen ‘funk’ but not quite as intensely as a true Yemen. Score: 88.75
I was very happy to find this because last year, there were no beans from Yemen brought into the country. (Zero, zip, zilch, nada.) This year, the only Yemen that I found didn’t score well (it was about an 84 – not something I’d consider offering. So this was a happy accident, and while I can’t get any more right now, I will absolutely keep it on my radar for future crops.
This coffee is from the town of Shakiso in the Bobe’a Ukke ward, located within Sidamo, which lies within the greater Oromia region of Ethiopia and borders the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (SNNPR). Around 600 farmers contribute to the Shakiso washing station, each cultivating approximately 2 hectares of coffee.
As the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia is home to more species of coffee plants than any place on earth, much of it still growing wild, and much of it still undiscovered. All Ethiopian coffee is Arabica and at least 150 varieties are commercially cultivated. Traditionally, these have simply been labelled as “heirloom varietals”; however, this is changing as the Jimma Agricultural Research Center works to identify species. Although there are a few estates in Ethiopia, 95% of coffee is grown by small land holders in a wide variety of environments, including “coffee forests” where coffee grows wild and is harvested by the local people. All specialty grade Ethiopian Coffee is grown above 4,000 feet and most above 6,000. In the highlands of Sidamo and Yirgacheffe, coffee can grow above 7,000 feet.