High in the Amaro Mountains in southwestern Ethiopia, one woman is doing her part to improve the quality of Ethiopian coffee, and the lives of Ethiopian women.
This exceptional coffee is exported through Ethiopia’s Asnakech Thomas—the only female miller and exporter in the entire country. And, as such, she has become 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 USDA Organic, meaning its production did not involve the use of synthetic substances such as most pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. 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 Ethiopia Amaro Gayo, from Irving Farm Coffee Roasters in New York, New York, courtesy of Craft Coffee. 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
I’ll never get over the Ethiopia Amaro Gayo’s aroma. It’s so sweet and refined, but entirely intense with bright, fragrant floral aromatics and mixed berries.
Diving into the first few sips and that classic natural Ethiopia profile that we’ve all come to know and love greets my palate right out of the gate. However, instead of bombastic blueberries (blueberries, blueberries!) and milk chocolate, I’m instead getting notes of strawberries (strawberries, strawberries!) and sweet sugar cookies, while almonds show up in the finish.
As it cools, this cup takes on the flavors and texture of berry jam and tart Moscato wine, while further flavors of white peach, lychee, citrus, and white grape present themselves. Then, just when I thought this coffee couldn’t get any more fragrant and elegant, a flourish of rose hips flutter through the finish of each sip.
Medium body; syrupy mouthfeel; winy acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
I absolutely love this coffee. The Ethiopia Amaro Gayo is a wonderful coffee, with a wonderful story, and Irving Farm Coffee Roasters handled it absolutely, well, wonderfully.
I mean, really—this coffee is sweet, elegant, refined; a real delight.
Not sure there’s much else to say. Buy this coffee.
Did you like this? Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome here at the Table! Pull up a chair and speak your mind by entering a comment below. Also remember to like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!
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.