Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re cupping the Ethiopia Nano Challa, from Halfwit Coffee Roasters in Chicago, Illinois. Feel free to pull up a chair.
Nano Challa sits in the Jimma region, home to one of the last remaining rainforests in Ethiopia. Coffee grows wild here, protected by the forests and collected by the farmers of the cooperative. This co-op, which is now 350 farmers and growing, has a tremendous mix of languages, tribes, cultures and religions.
Large tracts of pristine forests shade tall, spindly wild coffee trees. The forest systems there almost produce coffee on their own — which means that it’s more a matter of collecting rather than growing coffee. The members of the cooperative don’t have to fertilize, they don’t have to water, they don’t have to prune — the coffee wants to grow. All they need to do is look after it.
Nano Challa does something we wish all coffee producers would do. When it’s time to dry the coffee, rather than just sticking it out in the sun (fast and easy), they take the time to slowly dry the beans in the shade. It’s a more gentle way of treating the coffee that strengthens and heightens the flavors. It’s a time consuming process — it takes days, with dozens of people carefully turning and sorting the beans — but it’s worth it for what is some of the most delicious Ethiopian coffee available in the world.**
region: Gerra, Jimma, Ethiopia
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Oromia Coffee Farmer’s Cooperative Union
elevation: 1900 – 2200 meters above sea level
varietal: Ethiopia Heirloom
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Ethiopia Nano Challa is superb. It’s so airy, fragrant, and perfumed, blossoming with sweet scents of florals, honey, and stone fruit.
The coffee is a light-bodied one, with a silky mouthfeel and rounded citric acidity. It’s fruit-forward – peach, melon, Meyer lemon, and nectarine stream down the center of my tongue while tea-like florals play tickle the roof of my mouth; honeysuckle, chamomile tea. As the cup cools, these fruit flavors get more intense and sharpen; having said that, though, the coffee’s honeyed sweetness also comes through, and ginger plays through a somewhat dry finish.
A delicate, sophisticated, nuanced coffee.
*content courtesy of Halfwit Coffee Roasters
**content courtesy of Stumptown Coffee Roasters
What were your thoughts of this one? Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome! Feel free to enter a comment below.