Ethiopia Idido is famous in the world of Ethiopian Coffee. Named for the village located just a few kilometers from the cooperative and mill that were among the first in the world to craft meticulously prepared natural processed coffees under the name ‘Idido Misty Valley’. Like many cooperatives in Ethiopia, Idido has all of the right ingredients for turning out some of the best coffees in the world: high altitude, sound processing techniques, fertile soils, and heirloom varietals.
Idido was established in the late 1970′s and joined the ranks of Yirgacheffe Farmer’s Union in 2002. The cooperative has roughly 1,000 active members who cultivate farms averaging 1.5 hectares. We visited this cooperative in November of 2011 and were very pleased with the level of interest and engagement from members of the cooperative.
A few years ago, the Ethiopian government set up a group called the Ethiopian Coffee Exchange. The goal of ECX was to ensure farmers fair, timely payment for their coffees and circumvent the questionable practices of many exporters (theft, mislabeling product, etc.). Sounds great, right?
Well, it mostly was. Unfortunately, the side effect was a homogenization of Ethiopia’s coffee exports. A lot of Ethiopian coffees were being shipped all over the world and consumers didn’t know where these beans were coming from. So whenever you see a roaster’s online store and the most specific range of information they can offer about an Ethiopian coffee is that it comes from Yirgacheffe, now you know at least one reason why—the roaster has no way of knowing which farm or cooperative their beans came from!
Because the Idido Cooperative is sanctioned by the Ethiopian government, it, essentially, bypasses the ECX. Importers, roasters, and consumers can be assured these coffees are high-quality and traceable. Farmers in the cooperative also benefit from the direct relationship, receiving assistance with processing techniques, facilities, and stations. This relationship results in higher premiums for the coffees and, ultimately, a better quality of life for all those involved.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, from Higher Grounds Trading Company in Traverse City, Michigan. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Oromia, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Idido Cooperative
elevation: 1700 – 2000 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
process: fully washed, patio dried
certifications: Fair Trade, Organic, Rainforest Alliance
method: Kalita Wave
grind: 18, Preciso
coffee: 30 g
water: 475 mL
pour: 2:00 concentric pour
The aroma of this Idido is really nice, but it’s not perfect. Subtly interlaced with sweet scents of brown sugar, Vanilla Coke, cocoa powder, and blueberry is a mild roastiness; it doesn’t ruin the aroma, but it certainly tarnishes it.
The first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew present my palate with a full-bodied coffee that has a thick, syrupy mouthfeel. It has some fantastic flavors here up front—maple syrup, bittersweet chocolate chips, cookie dough, vanilla extract, brown sugar—but they’re a bit tarnished by a bit of roast and carbon that kick up in the back.
As the cup cools off, the roastiness intensifies but, thankfully, it doesn’t overtake the coffee; unfortunately, it intensifies enough that it matches the intensity of the blueberry, cantaloupe, plum, syrupy root beer, cane sugar, wild flowers, and tart tangerine acidity, and it leaves behind a slighty dry, astringent finish and a lingering copper aftertaste.
Full body; syrupy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; slightly astringent finish.
This Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Idido, from Higher Grounds Trading Company, was just shy of being a really, really great cup of coffee. As it stands, though, it’s still pretty good—not great, but a mostly pleasurable cupping experience.
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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.