In October 2009, Samuel Demisse read about the discovery of a 4.4 million year old human fossil found in Ethiopia. He was very fascinated by the news and decided to brand the Guji coffee he was cupping at the time under the name of “Ardi” as a tribute.
Demisse is the sole importer of coffees in this region and has a lot of family that works at the farm level; because of his close ties to the community and to the coffee, he is more able to purchase coffee and work directly with mills outside of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange.
This coffee is from Nardos, a mill that is located in the Guji area of Sidamo, Ethiopia. Guji is located in southern Ethiopia in the Oromio Zone. It is one of the many small villages in the Borena Hagermariam district. The mill is located in the Guji area of Sidamo zone near the small village of Michicha.
The population here is only between two to three thousand, and most of these people depend on coffee as their main source of income.
This is a naturally processed coffee, which helps to yield the typical flavors that are found in the cup. In order to control the drying process of this coffee it is first dried for two weeks on raised beds in the sun. There are several women who clean the coffee as it dries. Any under-ripe cherry stands in stark contrast to all the red cherries on the bed. All the under-ripe cherries are removed, and after two weeks, the coffee is set to dry again on a concrete patio.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Ethiopia Ardi, from Huckleberry Roasters in Denver, Colorado. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Michicha, Sidama, Ethiopia
farm: Biru Bekele Washing Station
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Ethiopia Commodity Exchange
elevation: 1700 – 1800 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
The aroma of the Ethiopia Ardi is par for the course for a natural Yirg—bright berry bombs explode like little fireworks, while sweet chocolate, brown sugar, and a flutter of perfumed floral aromatics.
The very first sip is absolutely explosive, blowing up on the palate like a fruit bomb with really bright, very lively, bittersweet tropical fruit flavors. Blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry burst out of the cup at the onset of each sip, followed by a rush of tangy pineapple, star fruit, passion fruit, and blackberry jam.
As it cools off, the mouthfeel becomes more viscous, morphing from fruit juiciness to more of a jelly texture, but that tangy pineapple acidity rises over the top, nipping at the tip of the tongue, cresting like a wave against the roof of the mouth, then splashing into the back. The rest of those flavors up front congeal a bit, taking a more uniform fruit punch flavor with maraschino cherry and watermelon highlights.
Medium body; jelly mouthfeel; pineapple acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
After sampling so many incredible Ethiopian coffees over the past 18 months, I have something to confess—”that classic Yirg profile” doesn’t really pass muster with me anymore; it’s just not as enticing after having so many incredibly dynamic, complex coffees. Not as much as it once did, anyway. Having said that, however, when I try a coffee like the Ethiopia Ardi, from Huckleberry Roasters, I can’t deny that “that classic Yirg profile” is classic for a reason.
The Ardi is always a great coffee, with its clean profile, super flavors, and tremendous balance, and Huckleberry certainly nailed their spin on it.
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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.