Ethiopia Hambela is sourced from METAD Agricultural Development PLC (METAD), a family owned business that operates the Hambela Coffee Estate. METAD has a rich history that began after World War II when the Ethiopian Emperor awarded Muluemebet Emiru, the first African female pilot and family matriarch, with land in the Harrar and Sidama regions that has become the Hambela Coffee Estate.
METAD strives to strengthen the local community with employment opportunities including a workforce that is seventy percent women, educational opportunities including sponsorship for a state-of-the art elementary school with more than three hundred students, and healthcare for employees including a partnership with Grounds for Health to implement cervical cancer screening for women in the community. METAD provides technical assistance and shares modern farming equipment with other local farmers. METAD also has the first and only private state-of-the-art SCAA certified coffee quality control lab on the African continent used to train both domestic and international coffee professionals.*
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Ethiopia Hambela, from Dagger Mountain Roastery in Valparaiso, Indiana. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: Guji, Sidama, Ethiopia
farm: Ethiopia Hambela Estate
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1900 – 2200 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Ethiopia Hambela is very intriguing. There are quite a few complex nuances in the nose that I wouldn’t typically associate with a Sidaman coffee, or even an Ethiopian coffee in general. While there are certainly notes that are more familiar—black tea, red fruits, and dark fruits—I’m more taken with the more herbal wood and clove aromatics.
Taking my first few sips from the cup, I’m finding that the flavor is every bit complex as its aroma. It’s on the lighter side of a medium-bodied coffee and it possesses a buoyant mouthfeel. It’s surprisingly savory and spicy up front, and even a little abrasive. It’s not roasty or anything like that—it’s not roasty at all!; instead, it has very distinct, sharp flavors of hickory and earth. I’m also tasting the malty sweetness of Assam tea and bitter dark chocolate. As the cup cools, an explosion of lively, juicy fruit flavors gushes over my tongue. Red grape, black currant, raisin, watermelon Jolly Rancher, lime acidity… The cup is suddenly so bright and sparkling; sweet and tart.
Dagger Mountain Roastery’s Ethiopia Hambela was an unreal coffee – absolutely stunning. And one that I would rank among the most complex and unique Ethiopian offerings I’ve ever come across; certainly the most complex and unique Sidama I’ve ever had—so many flavors and an overall profile that I wouldn’t at all associate with the prototypical Sidaman coffee. Smoke, hickory, musty Assam tea, earth…
There were a few moments over the course of this cupping that had me exclaiming “wow” out loud. The Ethiopia Hambela provided a fantastic cupping experience that rendered me speechless. Which turned out to be fine, since I could barely collect my jaw from the floor to form any coherent speech anyway.
*content courtesy of Klatch Coffee
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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.