In October 2009, Samuel Demisse read about the discovery of a 4.4 million year old human fossil found in Ethiopia. He was very fascinated by the news and decided to brand the Guji coffee he was cupping at the time under the name of “Ardi” as a tribute.
Demisse is the sole importer of coffees in this region and has a lot of family that works at the farm level; because of his close ties to the community and to the coffee, he is more able to purchase coffee and work directly with mills outside of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange.
This coffee is from Nardos, a mill that is located in the Guji area of Sidamo, Ethiopia. Guji is located in southern Ethiopia in the Oromio Zone. It is one of the many small villages in the Borena Hagermariam district. The mill is located in the Guji area of Sidamo zone near the small village of Michicha.
The population here is only between two to three thousand, and most of these people depend on coffee as their main source of income.
This is a naturally processed coffee, which helps to yield the typical flavors that are found in the cup. In order to control the drying process of this coffee it is first dried for two weeks on raised beds in the sun. There are several women who clean the coffee as it dries. Any under-ripe cherry stands in stark contrast to all the red cherries on the bed. All the under-ripe cherries are removed, and after two weeks, the coffee is set to dry again on a concrete patio.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Ethiopia Ardi 92, from Ascension Coffee in Dallas, Texas. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Michicha, Sidama, Ethiopia
farm: Biru Bekele Washing Station
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Ethiopia Commodity Exchange
elevation: 1700 – 1800 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
grind: 18, Preciso
coffee: 32 g
water: 500 mL
pour: 2:00 pulse pour, 1:00 drop
Oh yeah—I remember the Ardi very well just from my first few whiffs of the aroma steaming out of the cup. Massive blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants, and fig come exploding out of the cup like a big bomb inside a grocery store’s fruit stand. There’s plenty of collateral damage, particularly in the floral department, as orange blossoms and violets bloom in the finish.
The flavor proves to be nearly identical to the aroma, with a huge blueberry bomb up front, blackberry, and strawberry. Even more satisfying is the moist chocolate cake batter that propels all of those berry flavors forward.
As it cools off, though, the cup returns to what I was expecting of it: lively tropicalia and sweet, delicious savories. Berries on berries on berries—sweet blueberry mixed with tart raspberry and strawberry—, cherry, tangerine acidity, creamy vanilla, and banana cream pie with buttered crust.
Full body; creamy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
This is such a fabulous coffee.
The Ethiopi Ardi 92, from Ascension Coffee, is so full-bodied, so full-flavored, and so full of personality that a mug can hardly contain it! Don’t be fooled by my tasting notes, though—this isn’t a bright or lively coffee. It’s not intensely tropical or effervescent. No, the Ardi has a low-end intensity with its booming chocolate and berries.
If the term “bombs” makes you think of huge flavors exploding all over the palate, think of the Ardi’s flavors more as a low thunder rumbling in the distance.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.