This Ethiopia Kochere was nicknamed “bajaj” in honor of the three-wheeled motor cabs one can find throughout the region.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Ethiopia Kochere Bajaj, from Craft Coffee in Brooklyn, New York. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
farm: Kochere Mill
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1900 – 2200 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of this Ethiopia Kochere Bajaj is really complex, and not much what I thought it would be. I was expecting this to be floral and fruity—like most washed Kocheres I’ve had in the past. This one, instead, is floral, yes—but with smoky black tea leaves instead of rose, violet, or lilac; further, it smells really spicy and earthy, with baking spices, earth, and wood.
Taking my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, this Kochere’s flavor profile is as bizarre as its aroma. There are a lot of different things all happening at once and they couldn’t be further removed from each other. Loads of baking spices (black pepper, oregano, savory), piney cascade hops, earth, musty wood, copper, jasmine, black tea, a bit of roast, and a somewhat papery taste in the finish that leaves an astringency. And all of that is compounded by massive flavors of stone fruit, citrus, and tart red grape.
As the cup cools off, the profile doesn’t change all that much. Everything remains the same, more or less, except for the pepper, earth, and baking spice flavors that cut through whatever fruity/sugary sweetness this coffee has going for it.
Medium body; velvety mouthfeel; citric acidity; dry finish.
I’ve had a lot of coffees from the Kochere region of Yirgacheffe, and this one was easily the most bizarre. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a coffee like it before. In fact I know I haven’t—because that would be one I’d definitely remember for a long time. This coffee had all sorts of things happening—spicy, savory, fruity, sugary, roasty, floral, earthy—and it was all happening at the same time. Making it even weirder was how much clarity it had. For better or worse, I could taste everything this cup had to offer.
Craft Coffee recently started roasting their own coffees to include in their monthly subscription boxes. This is only my second box with a Craft-roasted offering in it, but after trying their Ethiopia Kochere Baja, I’m afraid to say, I hope this doesn’t become a permanently regular thing.
To be sure, I have absolutely nothing against Craft roasting their own coffee and sending it to subscribers. Even if the quality remains on the level it currently rests—even if the coffee gets exponentially better from month to month!—I don’t have a problem with it. However, 90% of the point of coffee subscription services like Craft is trying a variety of different roasters from month to month. It was bad enough that the variety of roasters I got to try was dramatically reduced when they came out with their “palate profiling” algorithm; now, instead of three different roasters per month, I only get to try two?
I wasn’t thrilled with this coffee, but I’m even less excited about the changes in Craft’s subscription model.
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.