This year, the fine folks at Hoot Owl Coffee Company searched out a specific coffee that is exported by the only female miller and exporter in Ethiopia.
This exceptional coffee is exported through Ethiopia’s Asnakech Thomas. She is one of the most inspiring figures in Ethiopian coffee today.
Native to the Amaro region, Asnakech decided in 2005 to return to her homeland to improve coffee quality at her mill and in local communities. She is one of the few people to travel weekly between Addis and the coffee areas.
The Amaro Mountains are a small range separating the communities of Amaro on the eastern slopes from Nechisar National Park and the lowland tribal areas of Arba Minch in southwest Ethiopia, Sidama region.
The local coffee varieties, relatively light population, waterfalls and highland bamboo forests are among the many unique features of the area.
All Amaro Gayo coffee is certified organic. Prices paid for this coffee are at the extreme high end of market, social programs are in the works including possibilities for assistance with capacity building and coffee job creation, schools, clean water and medical care.
At this year’s Let’s Talk Coffee, Amaro Gayo took first place in Single Origin Espresso Competition. The judges loved the floral aroma, distinct berry taste, and overall sweetness it brought to the cup.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Organic Ethiopia Amaro Gayo, from Hoot Owl Coffee Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Amaro, Ethiopia
farm: Amaro Gayo washing station
producer: smallholder farmers // Asnakech Thomas
elevation: 1550 – 1600 meters above sea level
The aroma coming off the Organic Ethiopia Amaro Gayo is exactly what I always think a natural Ethiopian aroma is going to be: big, bombastic blueberries burst out of the cup, with plenty of chocolate and purple flowers besides.
Immediately post-brew I’m taking my first few sips and I really can’t tell if my nose is directly informing my palate or not because, let me tell you—blueberries, blueberries, blueberries! Each sip is a decadent treat, with notes of chocolate ganache, sea salt, dulce de leche, honey, graham cracker, and a beautiful, silky violet petals.
As it cools, the flavors present in the first half of the cup don’t go away or even evolve—instead, more flavor is added to what’s already present. Now I’m getting some really pleasant notes of raspberry, cherry, Fuji apple, watermelon, cantaloupe, and a mellow strawberry acidity that rounds out the bottom of the cup.
Medium body; buttery mouthfeel; berry acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
The Ethiopia Organic Amaro Gayo, from Hoot Owl Coffee Company, is a really special cup of coffee. Not just because of it’s story, being exported by Ethiopia’s only female miller/exporter, but also because it’s a really tasty cup.
This naturally-processed Ethiopian coffee does suffer a bit from just a touch of mustiness and fermentation, but it’s hardly noticeable. Its massive flavors of chocolate, honey, and berry jam (particularly blueberries, blueberries, blueberries!) are so prevalent, so forward, that they almost completely mask any of its defects.
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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.