Ethiopia – the birthplace of humanity. As individual and unique as every person in the world is, as polarizing as the differences can be between any two people, it’s astounding that we all came from one little country in the middle of Africa.
Ethiopia – the birthplace of coffee; the home of some of the world’s most exquisite, complex, and unique coffees. Some of the world’s most diverse flavor profiles too. Some of these coffees are big and full-bodied with intense flavors of chocolate and fruits; others are light and floral, delicate even.
All from one little country in the middle of Africa.
Welcome to my table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re cupping Passion House Coffee Roasters’s Ethiopia Gera Jimma. Feel free to pull up a chair.
This coffee, which was supplied to Passion House by Coffee Shrub, is among the first of its kind – it’s part of a new initiative that Coffee Shrub is committing itself to: working directly at the farm level. The program is administered by a non-government organization that coordinates agronomists and managers for each of the cooperatives they work with. They also have a business advisor assigned that helps the cooperative manage their debt, re-invest in quality improvements at the mill, and verifies distribution of income to all members.
Cooperatives often fail to return a fair and full amount of payment to their farmer-members. Often this is from poor management. Under Coffee Shrub’s commitment to the cooperative, there is a renewed guarantee for a fair distribution of funds, a better managed coop, investment in the mill, and even better coffee next year!
origin: Gomma, Borena, Oromia, Ethiopia
farm: Gera Jimma Cooperative
elevation: 1900-2100 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
process: washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of this coffee right out of the grinder starts off with a nutty, fruity essence – almond and peach; as I start to brew it, those scents intensify, and a bouquet of lilac and juniper come bursting out of the Hario.
Immediately post-brew, a sweet and warming cocoa flavor comes to the forefront of each sip while a bubble of berry and stone fruit push behind it – raspberry, apricot, nectarine, peach. As the cup cools off, the cup gets even sweeter – the fruits push their way to the top, the cocoa drifts to the bottom, all of them flowing in the current of a syrupy river of wheat, honey graham, and tangerine acidity – like a wheat ale. Like a refreshing Blue Moon.
Medium body; low acidity; syrupy, honey mouthfeel; slightly dry finish.
the bottom line:
The Ethiopia Gera Jimma, from Chicago’s Passion House Coffee Roasters, is a pretty solid cup of coffee, particularly when it cools off – that’s when most of the sweetness comes out. There’s not much about it, though, that’s really exciting – it’s very drinkable, but not one that makes you say “wow” with each sip.
It’s a fairly complex cup that embodies all of the elements of this time of year – flowery aroma and fresh stone fruits in full blossom. However, just as its flowery aroma and subtle fruit flavors are indicative of, this is also a delicate cup of coffee that takes a lot of patience to dial in; but the reward is worth the effort.
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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.