Ethiopia Gelana Abaya Natural, one of my favorite coffees of 2012, is back at the Table for a third time this year thanks to the Okies at Maripsa Coffee Roastery.
Since 2008, much (if not most) of Ethiopia’s coffee goes anonymously through the privately owned, government-warehoused Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX). Aside from cooperatives and large estates, coffees are sold through the ECX to exporters and in the processes rebranded by region.
Or…more or less by region.
This lot was marked “Gelana Abaya”, which used to be a district of the Oromia region in the southern zone of Borena; now, Gelana and Abaya are separate districts, but coffee from either of the two can still be marked as “Gelana Abaya.” Most likely, this coffee came from an area that is nestled between Lake Abaya on the West and the town of Yirgacheffe on the East.
Unfortunately we don’t know who produced this great coffee. The ECX does promise, at least, that the farmer gets paid 80% of the final export price, which means (s)he probably got paid well for it.
Unfortunately, though, we can’t be sure.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Ethiopia Gelana Abaya Natural, from Mariposa Coffee Roastery in Norman, Oklahoma. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Kersa, Gelana Abaya, Oromia, Ethiopia
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Ethiopia Commodity Exchange
elevation: 1800 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
The aroma coming off of the Gelana Abaya is sweet and fragrant and pops with lots of fruity intensity. Bright mixed berries, melon, chocolate, and violet aromatics burst out of the cup and explode into the nostrils. Wow.
Diving into the first few sips of the cup, my palate is barraged with flavors of cocoa powder and big time blueberry bombs. There is, however, a slight roastiness that brings with it hints of salted nuts and a very slight astringency.
As it cools, though, the roastiness actually subsides—a lot. Either that, or the intensity of the tropical fruits has completely taken over the cup and superseded the roast. Personally, my bets are on the latter, because this coffee just got crazy intense; bright, fruity, lively, winy, tropical—it’s like somebody sneaked in and changed my cup while I wasn’t looking. Now, I’m getting notes of blueberry, raspberry, plum, passion fruit, cantaloupe, honeycrisp apple, lime, and watermelon gang up on the palate, completely drowning it with flavor.
Full body; winy mouthfeel; berry acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
I’ve had this coffee a few times now and each time it’s left me with a very pleased palate. Today’s cup was no exception. The Ethiopia Gelana Abaya Natural, from Mariposa Coffee Roastery, isn’t perfect, but it is a really delicious coffee that pleases the palate and tantalizes the taste buds.
Aside from the slight roastiness up front, this is a really clean coffee that features tremendous balance, crazy and intensely concentrated flavors, and a supple, winy mouthfeel that slides all over the tongue, ensuring that every single taste bud gets equal amounts of the lion’s share of the flavor (most coffees hit different parts of the tongue less or more depending on its profile, but this one really takes on the whole tongue).
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