Cupping Session 4/6

Today I put two different Ethiopian coffees to the test.

The cupping system that I am most familiar and comfortable with is really, quite basic: fragrance (1-5), aroma (1-5), acidity (1-10), body (1-10), flavor (1-10), and finish (1-10).  At the end of everything you add 50 points to bring it to a score out of 100.

Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Koke Co-op:
I tried this coffee for the first time yesterday and really wasn’t that blown away, but what a change for today!

About the farm (quoting Tom, our importer):

“Yirga Cheffe coffees are a renowned wet-processed type with effervescent brightness in the cup. This past season, buying Yirga Cheffe coffees from specific mills has been difficult, as the new Ethiopia Coffee Exchange rules took effect and the traditional auction was abandoned. The new rules mean that the coffee suppliers will be paid quickly by the exporters, and there will be a new level of transparency in pricing within the country. But it has also meant that, for the time being, we don’t know the exact mill or farmer group where outstanding lots like this originate. Nonetheless, it is not like great Ethiopia lots have disappeared. And in fact we were able to buy coffees direct from the Unions (the name for a farmers’ cooperative) that are traceable to the source. This is from Koke coffee mill (pronounced Ko-Kay), a part of the Yirga Cheffe Coffee Union.”

In the cup:
Tons of floral right up front.  Lots of rose and jasmine on the nose, interlaced with ripe red cherries.  Adding water increased the intensity of these flavors and also brought forward a smooth sweet chocolate scent.  Upon tasting the cup’s acidity hits right away with a nice snap.  The cup is very clean and the flavors very dynamic, but overall is well balanced.  The nuances present in the fragrance and aroma carry straight through into the cup with the addition of some nice citrus tones, especially lime.  There were also hints of tart apple and the slightest bit of a sweet tomato sauce that I found really interesting and quite pleasant.

Final Stats:
Dry Fragrance: 4.2
Wet Aroma: 4.0
Acidity: 9.0
Flavor: 8.9
Body: 8.6
Finish: 8.8
(add 50)
Total: 93.5

Ethiopian Sidamo Guji Shakisso, Haile Gebre
We already knew this coffee was going to be special just because of the extensive amount of work our importer has done with this farm in the past, but wow, it’s really awesome this year.  Not the top Sidamo I have had this year, but definitely in the top 5.

About the farm (again, from Tom):

This is a coffee from a remote area of the Sidamo district, quite far from where most Sidamo coffees originate. In fact, it is mostly known for the large gold mine in the area, and sadly the local tensions between mine workers and farmers becomes open conflict. The area of Shakisso is on the Guji zone, and when I was in Ethiopia in December, the local conflict made travel there unsafe. Nonetheless, we met the farmer who produces this coffee, Haile Gebre, in Yirg Alem, and we were able get a sample to cup some of this new crop Maduro lot, in anticipation of the following harvest. Maduro? This is a dry-process coffee where extra care has been directed toward harvesting only crimson-purple coffee cherries, a deeper red than the picking point for most coffee fruit. Maduro means mature in Spanish, and I am not sure how that name was adopted for and Ethiopia coffee, but that is the one Senor Gebre chose.

In the cup:
Explosive is really the best word I can come up with for this coffee.  There is tons of fruit in the cup, and for me (didn’t seem to hold as true for Tom) tons of floral aspects as well.  More floral on the nose, more fruit on the tongue.  The fragrance brought me fresh spring lilac and also strawberry.  The aroma, again, heightened these attributes, turning the lilac to honeysuckle and adding a pleasing milk chocolate note.  Also, the addition of water started bringing the spice notes to life for me.  Clove and allspice were what really stood out for me, with faint hints of cinnamon in the background.  The flavor brought a quick burst of floral, but quickly fading into sweet, ripe red berries with candy like sweetness.  There was a hazelnut note in the finish that I didn’t expect to find, but that added a really interesting dynamic along with the previously mentioned flavors carrying through to help keep the cup balanced until the end.

Final Stats:
Dry Fragrance: 4.4
Wet Aroma: 4.5
Acidity: 8.9
Body: 8.5
Flavors: 9.1
Finish: 8.9
(add 50)
Total: 94.3 (no kidding…)

I think I’m going to continue cupping these each of the remaining days of the week to see how they develop as they age.



One Response to “Cupping Session 4/6”

  1. […] coffee. More of the same, but also some new ones.  I revisited the two Ethiopians I tasted the other day to see how they had developed on a couple of days of rest.  The results […]

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