This coffee comes from the Konga Cooperative in Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia; it is one of the 22 members of the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union. The cooperative is made up of 1,683 small holder farmers—133 of which are female heads of family.
The YCFCU, as a whole, represents 43,794 smallholder farmers.
The Konga Cooperative is located about five kilometers from Yirgacheffe City in the Gedeo Zone in Southern Ethiopia, one of the most lush, and famous coffee growing regions in the country.
The average size of a farm is 1.25 acres on which coffee and various foods for the local market are grown in nutritious, volcanic soil.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Ethiopia Konga, from Populace Coffee Roasters in Bay City, Michigan. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: Konga, Sidamo, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
farm: Konga Cooperative
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1800 – 2100 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
certifications: Fair Trade, Organic
The aroma of the Ethiopia Konga is just… heavenly. Beyond heavenly, really. Seventh heavenly. It is sweet and perfumy, with a basket of fruit hitting the nose. Strawberry and lemon mix with peaches and cherry blossoms, while notes of cocoa and Tupelo honey finish off each sniff.
Diving into the first few sips and the flavor is perfectly mesmerizing. Immediately post-brew, I’m getting strong tastes of dark chocolate, bergamot, and lavender. It’s like a decadently sweet Earl Grey tea; it even has a slight astringency to it that makes it even more reminiscent of an Earl Grey. Meanwhile, a zesty lemon acidity already cuts through the front of each sip, biting the tip and sides of the tongue.
As it cools, the cup gets markedly sweeter—fruity, juicy, lively. Big time flavors of strawberry and blueberry especially, while notes of plum, apricot, peach, and Fuji apple also present themselves. At room temperature, the intensity of the fruits backs off a bit, allowing more baseline flavors of ginger, coconut, lemongrass, cocoa butter, and roasted almond to really shine while each sip rounds out with that zesty lemon acidity.
Medium body; juicy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; slightly dry finish.
the bottom line:
I really can’t get over the diversity of the coffees that have been coming out of Ethiopia over the past few months. No two coffees are identical, it’s true, but the coffees being produced in just this one country—most of them grown in very similar terroirs, not geographically far from each other—have been so utterly unique this summer.
Having said that, though, I’m glad that there have been a few Ethiopian coffees that, for the most part, have maintained consistency since 2012. That Gelana Abaya I had last year is still incredible; the Kochere—yes, indeedy. The Ethiopia Konga, from Populace Coffee, is certainly no exception.
The Konga provides a genuinely great cup of coffee. It is an utter delight to drink and it provides a memorable experience, leaving you wanting more when your mug is empty.
On a personal note, I can tell you that Andrew, the owner/roastmaster of Populace, has made a LOT of progress in the year it’s been since I first tried one of his coffees. This Konga is a mature, well-developed, well-structured coffee, and Andrew nailed it.
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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.