As I mentioned last week (and have mentioned a few times before), when an exciting coffee hits the shelves of coffee shops all over the United States from any particular roaster, the entirety of the coffee Twitter-sphere lights up like the telephone switchboards at American Idol during elimination night.
One coffee that generated a lot of buzz this year was one from the Konga Cooperative in Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia.
I got to try a little bit of this coffee, but unlike most of my followers and followees, I wasn’t all that impressed by it. However, I am willing to chalk it up to the fact that the sample I got came from a home roaster instead of a professionally established roaster. Besides, every coffee deserves a second chance anyway.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of CREMA, in Nashville, Tennessee. Today we are going to sip their Ethiopia Konga Cooperative. Feel free to pull up a chair.
The next week and a half or so, here at the Table, is going to be dominated by reviews that are long, long, long overdue.
Back in March, Ashley and I celebrated my 27th birthday in style by taking a road trip to one of my absolute favorite Midwestern destinations—Nashville, Tennessee—for an extensive coffee crawl. For whatever reason, though, I never got around to chronicling that trip here at the Table.
So, Dear Reader, I, along with the help of a few others, am going to make up for lost time with a series of posts dedicated to the music capitol of America.
Today’s cup (and tomorrow’s, if you’d like a sneak preview of what’s to come), comes to us thanks to the benevolence of CREMA. When Rachel, the owner (and fellow Illinoisan), learned that I was dedicating the next couple weeks to her city, sent me two packages of their latest offerings to review. Many, many thanks to you, Rachel!
This coffee comes from the Konga Cooperative in Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia; it is one of the 22 members of the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union. The cooperative is made up of 1,683 small holder farmers—133 of which are female heads of family. The YCFCU Ltd., as a whole, represents 43,794 farmers.
The Konga Coop is located about 5 kilometers from Yirgacheffe City in the Gedeo Zone in Southern Ethiopia, one of the most lush, and famous coffee growing regions in the country. The average size of a farm is 1.25 acres on which coffee and various foods for the local market are grown in nutritious, volcanic soil.
origin: Konga, Sidamo, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
farm: Konga Cooperative
elevation: 1800-2100 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
certifications: Fair Trade, Organic
The aroma of the Konga is heavenly. Beyond heavenly, really. Seventh heavenly. It is sweet and perfumy, with a basket of fruit hitting the nose. Strawberry and blueberry mix with Georgia peaches and cherry blossoms, while notes of raw cocoa nibs and Tupelo honey finish off each sniff.
The flavor is every bit as delicious as the aroma is. While each sniff of the aroma finishes off with milk chocolate and honey, each sip of the hot coffee starts off with the same. This is a very refined cocoa and honey, though, with great clarity. Even though these elements present themselves heavily and lay down a bed of creaminess over the palate, the coffee itself is actually pretty bright and lively.
That becomes even more apparent as the cup starts cooling off. Now this is a no-holds-barred fruit escapade—massive flavors of strawberry and blue especially, while notes of plum, apricot, peach, and Fuji apple also present themselves. At room temperature, the intensity of this fruitiness backs off a bit, allowing more baseline flavors of ginger, lemongrass, raw cocoa, and roasted almond to really shine while each sip rounds off with a zesty lemon acidity.
Medium body; creamy mouthfeel; lemon acidity; dry finish.
the bottom line:
Some Ethiopian coffees have a lot of zing!—the Ethiopia Konga, from CREMA, has a whole lot of shazam!.
This cup brims—overflows, even—with flavor, from beginning to end. This is a seriously delicious cup of coffee that didn’t last long on my kitchen counter—it was gone within a couple of days, actually.
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