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“Hachira” has stirred up a lot of fuss and excitement over the past few years. But what is it exactly?

This coffee is from Ninety-Plus, a US company that has been working for some years in Ethiopia to develop coffees of real distinction. Their emphasis is on coffee cherry processing, which is what they attribute to be the most important element toward producing great coffee. They have made an art out of working on the processing side and they consider themselves ‘coffee makers’ rather than producers. Of course, they need to begin with highly selected cherries, but from there they separate coffees based on the desired cup profile and alter their processing techniques to achieve their aims.

So, one could justifiably classify this coffee as “designer” or “manufactured.”

Unfortunately, according to one of the founders of the company, Ninety Plus provides only general information on their Ethiopian projects in order to maintain the integrity of their relationships and a certain level of security. So I can’t tell you too much about it.

However, I can tell you that unlike Harrar, Yirgacheffe, or Sidamo, Hachira is not a region in Ethiopia. “Hachira” is actually a made-up word—a name to identify a style of coffee. The Hachira style was created by Ninety Plus Coffee, which also developed the famous Nekisse style. After Ninety Plus creates a style, it finds a farm or farms that will grow it. In the case of Hachria, it’s a farm in the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia.

Ninety-Plus works with and sells mainly “natural processed” coffee categorized by degrees of fruit-drying influence on flavor. The Hachira is a category N2, which in their terms means “coffees with high fruit drying influence on flavor,” so you can be sure that these beans are full of sweetness and fruity notes. Sundried coffee harvesting is done mostly by the farming families where cherries are dried on mats that sit on raised drying beds and dried to roughly 11.5% moisture. Then, it was meticulously milled in Addis Adeba before being carefully packaged in GrainPro bags prior to shipping to us here in the U.S.

Hachira coffee was inspired by Aricha, another coffee developed during 2006-08 by Ninety Plus with the assistance of Yirgacheffe coffee guru S.A. Bagersh; Aricha has been very popular here at the Table, too.

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Ethiopia Hachira, from Buzz Killer Espresso in Chicago, Illinois. Feel free to pull up a chair.

the basics:

origin: Gedeo, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
farm: N/A
producer(s): smallholder farmers
association: Ninety Plus Coffee
elevation: 1750 – 2000 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
process: natural, raised bed dried
certifications: standard

the coffee:

The aroma coming off the Hachira is unreal. Super sweet, super fragrant, super concentrated scents of tropical fruits are wafting out of the cup and enticing my nostrils. I wouldn’t necessarily say that this is a fruit “bomb,” however—no it’s much more graceful than that; this is more like the most potent perfume in a department store—the one that, despite all of the others competing for your nose’s attention, makes your head turn. It is floral, herbal, and intensely fruity with notes of bright berries, citrus, lilac, and jasmine.

Just as it was with the aroma, there is no “getting to know you” stage with this coffee—it immediately has my palate’s attention from the very first sip. The bright fruits that were so apparent in the aroma are all the more present in the flavor, as my taste buds are bombarded with notes of juicy mixed berries (blackberry, raspberry, loganberry, elderberry, strawberry) and tropical fruits (pineapple, watermelon, apple, tangerine). This is a very light and effervescent coffee; very light. Really, the only thing weighting it down is a thin layer of palate-coating butterscotch, upon which all of the bright fruits come floating in.

As it cools, the cup only gets more intense, but I’m also tasting faint flourishes of violet, basil, and jasmine in the finish, particularly toward the back of the tongue.

Light body; juicy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.

the bottom line:

The Ethiopia Hachira N2, from Buzz Killer Espresso, is a crazy-unique, dynamic, and explosive cup of coffee that really shines, glistens, and sparkles with brightness and effervescence. (Even still, I’m not sure that was enough to accurately convey just how flavorful this coffee truly is.)

The Hachira fires on all cylinders, providing the consumer a coffee that is intensely flavorful, complex, and balanced, and Buzz Killer Espresso absolutely nailed the profile.

In a year that Ethiopia produced some of the most interesting coffees I have ever tasted, the Hachira, really, ranks near the top of the list. Dynamite coffee.

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