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 combinbing 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.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Adado, from Tinker Coffee Company in Indianapolis, Indiana. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Gedeo, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 2000 – 2350 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
grind: 20, Preciso
coffee: 48 g
water: 720 mL
pour: 3:00 concentric pulse pour
The aroma of this Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Adado is definitely that of a natural Yirg, with big scents of blueberry muffin, chocolate, and perfumed floral aromatics. However, these scents not nearly as bombastic or intense as they probably should be considering this is a natural Yirg; instead, they’re deep and subdued, possibly suppressed by a darker roast profile.
The first few sips of the cup are quite a mouthful. My goodness. So what’s happening here is we’ve got this natural Yirg that is intensely flavorful but is also over-roasted, which introduces a whole other set of intense flavors; and, because it’s a natural Yirg, all those intense flavors are front-loaded—so there’s an awful lot happening all at once. The Good: chocolate, angel food cake, blueberry, brown sugar, citrus. The Not So Good: earth, spice, cedar, roast, carbon, copper.
As it cools off, unfortunately, the intensity of the coffee’s best flavors backs off considerably—they’ve practically disappeared—, but the intensity of the roast doesn’t really go anywhere; still front and center, proving itself to be the coffee’s dominant profile.
Medium body; juicy mouthfeel; berry acidity; astringent finish.
The two previous coffees I received from Tinker Coffee Company this week both bordered on being over-roasted; they were both roasted a bit more than I’m accustomed to, but neither of them were overdone. Their Ethiopia Adado, on the other hand, was the one that went over the edge.
And here’s the thing about this one—it’s not even that over-roasted; but it’s enough so that “roast” is the dominant flavor in the cup. Yes, there is plenty of sugary and fruity sweetness in the cup too and those flavors are really intense, but they never break through the heavy cloud of roast, which is the first thing I taste from sip to sip from start to finish.
Of course, you never want that to be the case, but it’s especially bad when it’s a natural Yirg like this one that is simultaneously throwing so many other flavors at the taste buds all at once. It’s sensory overload. Back off the heat just a little bit and you’ve got yourself a solid coffee.
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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.