It’s always an exciting time of year when the first fresh harvests from Ethiopia begin to arrive in our warehouse! The most anticipated harvests in recent years have been from the Gedeb district near Yirgacheffe which has been a consistent source for some of our favorite cups of the year. We’ve gotten really picky lately, skipping past the lower grade offerings and holding out for Grade 1s, especially single-farm lots like this one. I’m pleased to report our patience has been rewarded!
Like the best natural processed Ethiopian coffees, this offering is juicy, sweet and silky. Moreover, that careful Grade 1 processing results in a surprisingly clean cup with all the complexity you could hope for and very little earthiness. Now for the big question on everyone’s mind: is it a berry bomb?! Having had many “berry bombs”, I think I’ll lean on the cautious side and classify this coffee as a “berry grenade.” As you’ll see on the graph below, I felt good giving it a 4 out of 5 in the berry category, though I was tempted to give it a 4.5. Either way, it easily took the number 1 slot in our Captain’s Gold rotation and I have a feeling it’ll stay in the top 3 for quite a while. It’s got juicy blackberry and blueberry notes in spades along with an undertone of sweet caramel and milk chocolate that’ll keep you coming back for more.
Reminder! This coffee is raw, you must roast it before brewing
Arrival Date: November 11th, 2022. US Arrival: October 2022
Acidity & Brightness: Mild acidity with juicy sweetness
Balance & Finish: Slightly complex with a fairly clean finish
Body & Texture: Full bodied, silky
Flavors: Blackberry, blueberry, caramel and milk chocolate
Grade: Grade 1 grown at 1800 - 2100 masl
Processing: Natural (dry) processed, sun dried on raised beds
Grower: Takele Mammo Denbi
Region: Konga, Yirga Chefe, Gedeb District, Gedeo Zone
Varieties: Indigenous heirloom cultivars
Recommended Roast Range: City to Full City (Light to medium)
Start at City (light) or just in to a rolling first crack and go a bit darker as desired. We find it best not to go any darker than Full City (Medium, after the end of first crack) and most folks will prefer a City + or at the tail end of first crack. Lighter roasts will have a bit more florality while still maintaining sweetness and a touch of acidity while medium roasts will accentuate chocolate and caramel tones.
Royal Coffee - "Royal, with support from select cooperatives, led the formation of the Single Farmer Lots Program, in order to break off single farmer lots from the larger cooperative blends sold through the Ethiopian Coffee Exchange, taking custody of these precious coffees through a direct sale. The program is a unique micro-channel of almost unprecedented specificity in coffee supply from Ethiopia. Farmers with the drive and means to sell direct are supported by Royal, and, in turn, our most enthusiastic buyers of Ethiopia coffee have access to a portfolio of single-farm lots, un-diluted by the typical cooperative- and exporter-level consolidations. The Single Farmer Lots Program represents a very sweet end to a chaotic recent chapter in Ethiopia’s coffee history, and we think it’s a model for what ought to be a generation of start-up relationship farming in Ethiopia’s world-famous southern zones.
Takele Mammo Denbi, at 47 years, is a brand-new participant in the Single Farmer Lots Program this year, but not at all new to the direct export process. Takele is currently stepping down after many years as the Managing Director of the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, of which his own farm has been a member. Takele has worked closely with Royal over the years helping this program succeed, but to avoid any conflict of interest excluded his personal coffee from the program. Takele cultivated this single farmer lot on his 8-hectare farm in the Konga disctrict, located in the heart of the coveted Gedeo Zone—the narrow section of plateau dense with savvy farmers whose coffee is known as “Yirgacheffe”. The Konga cooperative is well-known for its quality, and it’s a distinct pleasure having individual farmers from this perennially impressive community to celebrate, not to mention one as dedicated to farmer opportunity as Takele."