Being a coffee reviewer, and with their being, surely, a finite number of coffee farms in the world, there is bound to be overlap – certainly after two and a half years of running this website.
The coffee being reviewed at the Table today is no exception. This is probably the fourth or fifth time I’ve reviewed a coffee from the Kochere Cooperative in Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia.
In the past, I have had mixed reactions to this coffee – at once I love it, at once I’m perplexed by it, and at once I’m underwhelmed by it.
Today, we’re heading out to Portland to see how our friends at Coava handled this finicky, but rewarding, bean.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Kochere, from Coava Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon. Feel free to pull up a chair.
The Kochere micro-region has long been known as one of the best origins for fully washed southern Ethiopian coffees. So much so, in fact, that now, about thirty percent of all coffee bearing the Yirgacheffe name comes from this specific area. The combination of very high altitude and iron-rich, acidic soil creates the ideal growing situation to produce the bright, floral Yirgacheffe profile.
origin: Kochere, Chalalacktu, Oromia, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
farm: Kochere Cooperative
elevation: 1850 – 2000 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Kochere is really intriguing. Delicate and floral and tea-like, but equally laced with bittersweet chocolate, blackberry, citrus, bergamot.
The flavor up front presents a somewhat unusual profile. The first few sips are like biting into a dusty 75% dark chocolate bar. It has that sort of both flavor and texture. It also has these notes that alternately shift between moist pipe tobacco, earthiness, and Earl Grey tea. The coffee, up front, is heavily influenced by flavors of bergamot and lavender. What’s also interesting to note is that, immediately, freshly post-brew, a mildly tart and sugary lemon drop acidity presents itself.
As it cools off, the cup adopts a lightly molasses mouthfeel and presents my palate with fruit and juice notes, but, by no means, would I say these are sweet fruits – the lemon acidity post-brew sort of informs the palate that the rest of the cup is going to be a little tart and bittersweet and that’s exactly what happens. Juicy blackberries and currants combine with those black tea notes, spiced cherry liqueur, the lavender is amplified a bit by lilac aromatics, and sour, fermented seeded black grapes play out in a deep, lasting finish that leaves a lingering aftertaste of port and dark chocolate.
Medium body; light molasses mouthfeel; lemon acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
This, I think, is the fourth or fifth time I’ve reviewed a coffee from Yirgacheffe’s Kochere Cooperative, and, I must say, this was certainly the most memorable. Not because it was the best or the worst roast of it I’ve had so far, but because it was, far and away, the most unusual.
The profile of Coava Coffee Roasters’ Kochere shifts and evolves and performs this sort of crazy dance on the palate, never being the same sip twice. This is an extremely singular variation on the classic Yirgacheffe profile that I highly doubt one could find anywhere else. For that reason, I highly recommend this one.
However, having said that, this is kind of an intense cup of coffee that is definitely not for everybody. The casual drinker probably won’t be impressed by this one, but the seasoned coffee veteran or aficionado will certainly find a lot of things to love about it. They will, at the very least, be intrigued by its delicacy and its perplexity.
It will challenge all of your pre-conceived notions of the Yirgacheffe region – for better or worse.
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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.