Buying from Ethiopia continues to be a challenge. The cupping table always shows some amazing coffees; however, buying through the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange continues to be difficult for buyers who require some traceability or back story with the coffees they’re interested in. So, you have to become a sort of detective tracking down that sort of information. Luckily for you, Dear Reader, I’ve become pretty good at spotting clues…
This Grade 1 coffee is sourced from family owned farms organized around the Chelelektu Washing Station, located in the Kochere woreda of the Gedeo zone of Ethiopia. The Gedeo zone is named after the Gedeo people who are indigenous to this area. The Kochere micro-region has long been known as one of the best origins for southern Ethiopian coffee. The combination of very high altitude and iron-rich, acidic soil creates the ideal growing situation to produce the bright, floral Yirgacheffe profile.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Ethiopia Chelelektu, from Spotted Cow Coffee Company in Mill Creek, Washington. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: Chelelektu, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
farm: Chelelektu Washing Station
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Ethiopia Commodity Exchange
elevation: 1700 – 1950 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of this Ethiopia Chelelektu indicates a coffee that is going to be refined and complex in the cup. Sweet and perfumed, with scents of stone fruit, berries, citrus, caramel, and wisps of light floral aromatics, particularly black tea leaves and jasmine.
The coffee is light in body and features a beautiful, silky mouthfeel that rolls over the palate like a blanket. It’s a fruit-forward cup, with a profile that is elegant, refined, and very clean, but there are some nuances of honey and caramel throughout. The real stars of the profile, though, are those flavors of apricot, peach, honeycrisp apple, white grape, and a stunning lime acidity that lifts in the back to reveal a lingering Earl Grey tea finish. I’ve heard it said over and over again that a lime acidity in Yirgacheffe coffees is indicative of underdevelopment and, while that might be true the majority of the time, in this cup it really works well to complement the other flavors.
Light body; silky mouthfeel; tartaric acidity; clean finish.
I love washed Yirgacheffes. They can be so clean, so refined, so complex and nuanced, so delicious; and Spotted Cow Coffee Company’s Ethiopia Chelelektu was so much the epitome of how excellent washed Yirgs can be. Light, silky, fruit- and floral-forward, complex, balanced, and featuring such a stunning clarity, this Chelelektu is a beautiful coffee that showcases grace and elegance while throwing in a few surprises along the way, just to prove that it can be fun and spontaneous, too.
Spotted Cow Coffee Company provided a real knockout of a coffee with their Ethiopia Chelelektu.
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.