At least once every couple of months or so, I get a submission request from a home roaster. I always turn them down; I’ve had home roasts before—from Behmors and heat guns and rotisserie grills and stove tops and ovens—and I’ve never been impressed by them.
Here we have our last of the ECX coffees Sweet Maria’s brought in this year. They don’t usually pick much coffee that’s handled through the Commodity Exchange, but, according to their website, “the quality of this particular lot is so high that, in [their] opinion, it would have been foolish to turn it away.”
If you don’t already know, the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange was set up in an effort to help bring single farm lots to a market where they were rewarded for overall cup quality. The coffee is graded by employees at ECX, and while ranking coffee by overall quality is an effective means of determining price (in the past, origin is as much the price determiner as quality – “Yirgacheffe”, “Sidama”, etc), it’s been taken to such an extreme where provenance is stripped altogether. So then we’re stuck with amazing coffee (not a bad thing) and no real way of knowing where it came from.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Gedeo, from Single Speed Coffee in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Gedeo, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Ethiopia Commodity Exchange
cultivar(s): Ethiopia Heirloom
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of this Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Gedeo is somewhat bright but very pleasant, being a bit floral and fruit-forward. There’s a touch of honey and cocoa in there that provide a foundation for scents of berries, melon, citrus, and violet to jump from.
Taking my first few sips of the coffee immediately post-brew, my palate is greeted first by flavors of spice (cinnamon, a little peppery, jasmine) that prick the tip and sides of the tongue, then sweet Mexican chocolate, honey, and cherry that quickly soothe it, lifting a bit to reveal jasmine in the finish. There’s just a touch of roast here – not like a really roasty, smoky taste, though; more like a “slightly overcooked” taste. Which honestly surprises me; I was expecting a lot more of that. Or maybe a staleness is what I was expecting; either way, this coffee, thus far, is going much better than I anticipated.
As it cools off, the coffee suddenly becomes incredibly juicy and bursts to life with bright, sweet fruits. Holy moly. This coffee now has the full-bodied juiciness of dark berries and plum, but it also features tart and lively citrus (lemon-lime, kumquat) acidity, cantaloupe, watermelon, passion fruit, grapefruit, pear juice, and guava nectar. This unbridled intensity backs off the closer it gets to room temperature, when the chocolate and honey up front return to form a long, satisfying finish.
Full body; juicy mouthfeel; lemon acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
I have to say—this coffee has but one tasting note: crow. That’s all I tasted while sampling this home-roasted Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Gedeo, from Single Speed Coffee. For all the naysaying and shade I throw at home roasting, this one was very good. I won’t go so far as to say it’s every bit as good as a coffee from a professional high-volume roaster, but it was very good.
I was really surprised at how well-developed this Yirg was. It had great clarity, was tremendously flavorful, and it really dazzled the palate with its bright liveliness, particularly in the latter stages of the cup.
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