Tony’s Coffee recently reached out and sent me a few samples, one of which was their Homestead Blend, which is a rotating blend of seasonal coffees that are roasted to match a certain profile.
Their current incarnation of Homestead Blend is two separate roasts of Ethiopia Grade 1 Yirgacheffe from the Chelba Washing Station.
This coffee is produced by a farmer group that is made up of 500 people. On average, each farmer owns two to five hectares of land. After the coffee cherries are picked, they are sorted and pulped immediately, and then fermented in water for up to two days to remove the mucilage. After the fermentation stage, the coffee is washed in long troughs.
All the water used comes from the Chelba River, high in in the surrounding mountains. After being washed, the coffee is placed on drying beds, and is turned every few hours to ensure even drying. The drying process can take anywhere from eight to ten days, depending on the weather. Currently, the Chelba Washing Station has 180 drying beds, and plans on building 80 more in the near future.
The Chelba washng station processes beans of local farmers. After the coffee cherries are picked they are sorted and pulped immediately at Chelba, then fermented in water for up to two days to remove the mucilage.
After fermentation the coffee is washed in long troughs, filled by water of the Chelba River. After washing the coffee is placed on drying beds, and is turned every few hours to ensure even drying. This drying process can take anywhere from eight to ten days depending on the weather. Currently, the Chelba Washing Station has 180 drying beds, and plans on building more.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Homestead Blend, from Tony’s Coffee in Bellingham, Washington. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Chelba, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
farm: Chelba Washing Station
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1800 – 2100 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Homestead Blend is very citric, creamy, floral, and nutty with powerfully fragrant notes of tangerine, cocoa, and peanut butter.
Up front, the first few sips are all about those floral aromatics as this coffee resembles a botanical garden more than anything else. It has a delicate, light, and airy tea-like complexion and mouthfeel that is utterly graceful. There are very faint traces of Tupelo honey, cocoa, and a very, very mellow earthiness in the background, but moreover, it’s those silky orange blossoms, lavender, and bergamot that are impressing my palate most.
As it begins to cool, a moderate complexity begins to unfold thinly stacked layers of flowers, fruits, and savories—one after another. Subtle salted caramel flows over the palate, carrying flavors of brown sugar, orange peel, raw cocoa nibs, cherry, cranberry, currants, coconut, and zesty lemon acidity.
Medium body; silky mouthfeel; lemon acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
I was really, really impressed—and a little surprised, to be perfectly honest—with the Homestead Blend, from Tony’s Coffee. I’m not sure what, exactly, I was expecting to taste in this cup, but I had a much different experience than I bargained for.
This incarnation of the Homestead Blend—which is a blend of two differently roasted coffees from the Chelba Washing Station in Ethiopia—is a bright and lively coffee that simply sparkles on the palate, particularly due to its lemon acidity, fruity flavors, great clarity, and supple body.
The Tony’s Coffee website says that the Homestead Blend is meant to be “a bright and sprightly blend of the seasons freshest coffees”, and I think that, in this case, they nailed the profile they were shooting for. This is a fantastic cup to enjoy during these dog days of summer.
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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.