If the title of this review sounds familiar, you’re not going crazy – it’s because I recently posted another review with almost exactly the same title. That was the washed version; today’s review is of the natural process from the same roaster. Unfortunately, the washed version was pretty far past its roast date (about three weeks) by the time I received it in the mail, so the roaster generously offered to replace it. And the replacement is what I have here today.
Welcome to the table. Today we’re cupping the Ethiopia Kayon Mountain, from Windmill Coffee Roasters in Ames, Iowa. Feel free to pull up a chair.
The Kayon Mountain Coffee Farm covers 500 hectares with about 300 hectares planted in coffee, and has been owned and operated by Ismel Hassen and his family since 2012. It is located 510 kilometers south of Addis Ababa, and the property crosses the border of two villages—Taro and Sewana—located in the Orogmia region, in the Guji zone of the Shakiso district of Ethiopia.
Ismel oversees a staff of 25 permanent full-time and 300 seasonal employees, and the farm management offers free transportation services as well as financial support for building schools and administration buildings for the community. The farm competes with a nearby mining village for seasonal workers, so Ismel and his family tend to pay higher wages to their pickers in order to incentivize them returning year after year.
Kayon Mountain farm has a nursery on-site, and utilizes shade (gravilla, accacia, and other indigenous trees) to protect the coffee as well as for creating compost to fertilize naturally. Ismel is meticulous about not only the structure and management of the farm itself, but also the harvesting and processing. Both Natural and Washed lots are produced on the property.*
region: Shakiso, Oromia, Ethiopia
farm: Kayon Mountain
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1900 – 2200 meters above sea level
The aroma of the Ethiopia Kayon Mountain is the quintessential natural Ethiopia aroma. A big berry bomb that I can actually smell through the packaging before I even open it. I’m also getting the sweetness of vanilla cream and just a touch of citrus after opening the package, but the blueberry/strawberry bomb is front and center.
The coffee itself is fairly light-bodied – a bit thin, too – and has a silky mouthfeel that flows along the sides of the tongue. Again, fermented berries are the star of the show and are the most forward flavors, but there are sweet notes of vanilla and baker’s chocolate propelling them forward. As the coffee cools, it tastes much “greener” – the strawberry flavor is dominant and doesn’t disappear, but the sugar notes are replaced by jasmine tea and a mildly biting lime acidity.
What I really like about this coffee is its depth. You know, a lot of these berry bomb natural Ethiopians have a tendency to completely collapse once they start cooling. They pack all their flavor into its hot stage and leave nothing for the consumer at room temperature. Considering how thin this one was at the start, I was afraid this cup would be a similar experience, but it just kept going and going.
*content courtesy of Cafe Imports
What were your thoughts of this one? Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome! Feel free to enter a comment below.
UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ALL PRODUCTS REVIEWED ARE UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS FROM THE PRODUCT MANUFACTURER.
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.