The coffee cherries were grown and harvested of native heirloom varietals by peoples of three indigenous groups: the Shilicho, Babe, and Shebe. The coffee was grown on small farms near the town of Dilla, in the Sidamo region of Ethiopia, which is on the main road Between Addis Ababa and Nairobi. Prior to the completion of this road to the Kenyan border, Dilla was at the terminus of the paved road from Addis, and became the hub of trade for all coffee grown south of this point, and it is still a thriving market town.
Mariposa’s Adem Chilcho coffee is picked ripe, and laid out to dry in the sun on raised beds. This is a naturally processed coffee, which means it has taken on some of the flavors from the fruit of the coffee cherry. After drying, the coffee was cleaned and sorted, and made ready for roasting.
Ethiopian natural coffees are great coffees to roast because the top coffees from the region are clean and high-grown, so they roast more consistently and if done right, come out with a delicious acidity and all the complexity inherent in these wonderful coffees.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Ethioipa Sidama Adem Chilcho Natural, from Mariposa Coffee Roastery in Norman, Oklahoma. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Shilicho, Sidamo, Dilla, Ethiopia
producer: Shilcho // Babe // Shebe
elevation: 1600 – 1900 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
Grinding the Adem Chilcho has my entire kitchen filled with aromas of cocoa powder, cake batter, mixed berries, and African violets. It is a very sweet and very fragrant and very, very powerful aroma that is every bit what I expect the traditional naturally-processed Ethiopian coffee to smell like.
Diving into the first few sips of this coffee, my palate is immediately greeted by super rich, decadent chocolate. I’m not sure of the word to use to describe what kind of chocolate, though; it tastes and feels like the gooey chocolate that oozes out of a perfectly baked chocolate lava cake. My taste buds are also picking up the sweetness of cane sugar and blueberry jelly.
As it cools, the coffee only gets more flavorful and, actually, pretty intense as it becomes a very fruit-forward coffee. Bright and syrupy flavors of maraschino cherry, blueberry, raspberry, tangerine, lemongrass, ginger, and cloves finish off the cup, leaving behind a crisp, clean, salivation-inducing finish that is reminiscent of sugary lemonade on a hot Summer day. Each sip leaves me craving another.
Full body; syrupy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
In many ways the Ethiopia Sidama Adem Chilcho Natural, from Mariposa Coffee Roastery, is the standard for the traditional naturally-processed Ethiopian coffees. Chocolate and blueberries dominate the cup and the coffee’s profile can be summed as up “intensely flavorful.”
However, unlike the “standard” naturally-processed Ethiopian coffee, the Adem Chilcho gets more intense as it progresses. It seems to me that a lot of naturals, after throwing everything they have at you up front, end up tasting kind of diluted in the finish. The Adem Chilcho, on the other hand, waits until the finish to really ramp up its intensity; furthermore, it becomes a better, more well-rounded coffee as the cup progresses.
This is a really nice coffee; one that will probably take you by surprise.
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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.