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 a cup of Ethiopia Idido, from Kickapoo Coffee Roasters in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Idido Cooperative
elevation: 1900 – 2100 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
certifications: Organic, Fair Trade
The Idido kicks off with an aroma that is classically “washed Ethiopian,” but I certainly wouldn’t use words like “normal” or “ordinary.” It is sweet and fragrant, with notes of delicate wildflowers, cherry, and cocoa.
This is a sweet and spicy cup of coffee. It has a thick, syrupy body that really fills up every part of the mouth; it engulfs the tongue, it rises to the roof, it spreads over and sinks into the sides, then it finishes with a hot and spicy burn in the back of the throat. Spiced cherry, brown sugar, and zesty lemon are the highlights of this coffee and they present my palate with an utterly complex overall profile when teamed up. It’s sweet, it’s spicy, it’s tart—it’s challenging and satisfying in the same sip.
As it cools it progresses into a sweet, honeyed flavor and texture. The flavors up front, that were so strong, stick around, as relentless as they were just a few moments ago. Be that as it may, I also taste a small myriad of other flavors: cocoa, plum, nectarine, blackberry, peach, strawberry, apple, hazelnut, pistachio, wild flowers, and (I know this is going to sound weird) Mexican Coca-Cola—it has that same natural sugar, syrupy sweetness.
Medium body; syrupy mouthfeel; lemon acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
This is a coffee to be excited about. The Ethiopia Idido, from Kickapoo Coffee Roasters, is a special, uniquely complex coffee that dances and glides all over the palate, inundating it with beautiful flavors. With as much as this coffee does to the taste buds, I’d love to say that it was all over the place, but it’s not—it has some really wild flavors, but they’re perfectly contained and presented in a perfectly rounded, balanced cup. Furthermore, it has a sparkling clarity that really shines, particularly in the finish.
The Idido is simply spectacular, and it comes highly recommended from the Table.
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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.