I recently reached out to the Twittersphere, expressing that I wanted to some more really unique Ethiopian coffees to sample.
My good friends down the street at Metropolis replied immediately. Their roaster was very, very excited about a new Ethiopian that they just got in and he really, really wanted it to take up a little bit of counter space in my kitchen.
Who was I refuse?
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Ethiopia Adado, from Metropolis Coffee Company in Chicago, Illinois. Feel free to pull up a chair.
This Yirgacheffe coffee comes from the Adado Cooperative washing station in the southeastern Ethiopian highlands within the Gedeo Zone, south of the capital Addis Ababa. The Gedeo people (often referred to in literature as Darasa) are considered to be a culturally and linguistically distinct group. They are bordered by the Sidama in the East, the Alaba in the North, the Burji in the West and the Guji in the South. All of these groups belong to the Eastern Cushitic speaking people, who traditionally occupied the upper reaches of the Rift Valley escarpment in northern Sidamo. Today the Gedeo Zone is one of the most densely populated parts of Ethiopia.
The Gedeo Zone is the main production area for the world famous Yirgacheffe and Sidamo coffees. The Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (YCFCU), which began in 2002, represents over 50,000 farmers within 24 primary cooperatives. The 1250 member Adado Cooperative is one of these.
Located in the lushly vegetated mountains, members’ coffee farms reside at altitudes between 2000 to 2400 meters above sea level. In this area, the soil is fertile with infrequent erosion due to traditional Gedeo agriculture practices combining coffee and enset (aka false banana), both semi-permanent species, as the predominant crops.
The Adado Cooperative is a major success story. As recently as 2005, the cooperative was almost totally defunct without any working equipment to process their coffee. In 2007, a new eco depulper was installed which allowed 25 farmer members to process a small amount of coffee. Over the next three years, membership soared as the co-op implemented these additions to the infrastructure in and around the washing station: repairing roads, purchasing a generator for the depulper, building new drying beds, educating the local farmers about sustainable practices, and offering farmers pre-financing. Adado now produces both exemplary natural processed and washed processed coffees.
Strong cooperation between the farmers, the cooperative and the exporter agent has been vital to the success of this operation..
origin: Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
farm: Adado Cooperative Washing Station
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 2000 – 2400 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
certifications: Organic, Fair Trade, UTZ
The Ethiopia Adado’s aroma is fruity, floral. Very red. Stone fruits and pomme fruits collide with a touch of citrus, honey, and perfumy rose petals.
The flavor kicks off with a beautiful mix of raw cocoa nibs and assorted red fruits—juicy, fleshy, ripe red fruits. I’m tasting notes of strawberry, cherry, raspberry, currants, cranberry, apple, and stone fruits—apricot and peach.
As it cools off, the flavor gets a little… unusual. Some really, really neat flavors like canned peaches, honey, ginger, blackberry, maple syrup, currants, brown sugar, jasmine, and rose hips emerge taking center stage on the palate, while a bubbly bed of sweet cola lays down the foundation upon which the fruits and sugars up front coalesce and meld together. Meanwhile, a bright and crisp lemongrass acidity rounds out the bottom of the cup.
Full body; syrupy mouthfeel; lemon acidity; mildly dry finish.
the bottom line:
As I mentioned a couple of days ago, there has been a deluge of coffees coming out of Ethiopia lately, and a lot of them, in terms of flavor profile, are wildly different from one another, and wildly different from coffees that are coming out of other areas of the world. The Ethiopia Adado, from Metropolis Coffee Company, is certainly representative of that.
This was a really unique coffee, but, more importantly, this was a really delicious coffee that was as enjoyable as it was “interesting.” It’s the sort of coffee that casual coffee drinkers and coffee industry types alike go ga-ga over.
I really enjoyed this one. Sure, it wasn’t perfect—most coffees aren’t. But what it lacked in perfection it made up for in tasting experience.
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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.