Ethiopia Ardi is an exceptional natural processed coffee from the Sidama region of Southern Ethiopia, and over the past few years, this coffee has gained a bit of a cult following among specialty roasters in the US. It’s certainly a perennial favorite here at the Table.
In October 2009, Samuel Demisse read about the discovery of a 4.4 million year old human fossil found in Ethiopia. He was very fascinated by the news and decided to brand the Guji coffee he was cupping at the time under the name of “Ardi” as a tribute.
Demisse is the sole importer of coffees in this region and has a lot of family that works at the farm level to ensure that Ardi is picked and processed to the most exacting standards. Approximately 1500 farmers contributed to this year’s crop of Ardi, and 200 women carefully manage the coffee’s drying process, removing over- or under-ripe cherries and constantly rotating the cherries to ensure evenness. Because of his close ties to the community and to the coffee, he is more able to purchase coffee and work directly with mills outside of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange.
Ethiopia Ardi also placed first in the Taste of Harvest Competition in all of east Africa.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Ethiopia Ardi, from Topeca Coffee Roasters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, courtesy of Angels’ Cup Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Kilenso Moconissa, Sidama, Ethiopia
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Kercha Cooperative
elevation: 1750 – 1800 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
The aroma of this Ethiopia Ardi is everything I hoped it would be. It is sweet, fragrant, soft, with scents of sugars, angel food cake, strawberry, vanilla, rose… Basically, it smells like a big slice of strawberry short cake.
Taking my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, the taste follows the nose. This is an incredibly airy, fragrant, soft, “plush” coffee. It’s also very elegant and genteel, with soft edges and a delicate malic acidity. In terms of flavor profile, it’s a sweet coffee – very sweet – with refined white sugars and angel food cake floating in on a river of vanilla and Dutch chocolate.
As the cup cools off, some subtly sweet, dried fruit flavors begin to emerge – red currant, cranberry, raisin, and fig – while a crisp, dry malic acidity (much like a pear cider) streams down the center and sides of the tongue, leaving behind a long, tingling, clean finish.
Light body; plush mouthfeel; malic acidity; cleans finish.
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Topeca Coffee, and their debut here at the Table did not disappoint. Their Ethiopia Ardi is among the finest I’ve tasted and, for a natural Sidama, they did a wonderful job of reigning in the coffee’s “big” flavors. This coffee was delicate, elegant, and genteel, even. A really pleasurable sipping experience.
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.