Growing Regions

Yirgacheffe: Washed and natural processing both available.  The washed processed Yirgacheffe is high on floral tones with a lemon citrus acidity that almost reminds you of a mix of tea with coffee.  Jasmine, lemongrass, sometimes raspberry, peach, and black tea are all common cupping notes for a washed Yirgacheffe.  The most famous favored micro-region is Kochere.  A natural Yirgacheffe is not as common, and if it is natural it will be clearly marketed as being such.  The natural Yirgacheffes are much sweeter and fruitier but with the same overall flavor characteristics  - a special coffee that is extremely pleasant and easy to drink.

Sidamo:Sidamo is actually a micro-region within Yirgacheffe, but it has enough distinctness to warrant differentiation. A washed Sidamo tastes a lot like a Yirgacheffe and offers you floral and lemon characteristics.A natural Sidamo will have berry aroma and undertones, quite often strawberry, in addition to the lemon citrus acidity, offering you an incredible sweet strawberry-lemonade flower escape.Occasionally find one with milk chocolate notes besides, and that is quite a treat. The best Sidamos have a clean aftertaste, but often you find them with an earthy or black-tea sharpness in the aftertaste that just about ruins the experience.

Harrar:  Natural processed Harrar is the norm, and it is not necessarily going to have blueberry undertones, but often it will, at varying levels from “in-your face” all the way down to “use your imagination” A Harrar that is full of blueberry is truly a treat, and those who have experienced it come back over and over for more.  Other nicknames include "Harrar Horse" and "Harrar Longberry" but they are all referring to the same thing.  In recent years, the price of Harrar coffee has reached such heights that the US isn't importing the good lots, and the Harrar on the US market is weak and disappointing.  A low grade (Grade 4) Harrar will many times have an undesirable earthy aftertaste, or sometimes lack the blueberry undertones.

Roasting Guide

The best thing to do with an Ethiopia is to take it into the 1st cracks, slow it down, keep the temperature rising oh-so-slowly and spit it out about 3 minutes after the 1st cracks began…and about 30 degrees higher than it started cracking at.If that gives you too much sour, then give it another 15 seconds, a couple more degrees, and see what you get.The perfect roast will give you a coffee bursting with sweetness and fruit, a remarkably intriguing aroma, and unmatched complexity.Sadly, the thin body and acidity can be a turn-off for some, but that just leaves more for the rest of us to drink.Although Grade 4 is really only the 4th best grade of Ethiopia, it is quite often the only grade exported, for tax reasons, and many Grade 4’s are, in reality Grade 1 or 2.The only way to really test quality is to sample them.When you roast Ethiopia, the roast color will appear uneven.This is particularly true of Sidamo, and is probably because of the various bean sizes mixed together, but it does not mean the quality is inferior.

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