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Triestespresso

Cupping Review: Wet-Processed Ethiopias
(continued)


Ethiopia Limu
Ethiopian Highland coffee
Aroma
6
Acidity
6
Body
6
Flavor
6
Aftertaste
6
Origin: Limu growing region, Western Ethiopia.
OVERALL RATING: 80
Notes: Limu is generally considered the second most prestigious origin for Ethiopia wet-processed coffee after Yirgacheffe. From the 1998/99 crop. Blind assessment: Is this Ethiopia smooth, complex, and gently authoritative, or slightly hard, grassy, and astringent? Either the panelists couldn't make up their minds on this coffee or the coffee couldn't make up its own mind. "Sweet, caramel, root beer," wrote another; but "cooled to unremarkable and astringent." I found this coffee chocolatey and rich on first impression, but a touch hard underneath, with a faintly bitter finish.

Ethiopia Washed Sidamo
Ethiopian Highland Coffee Co.
Aroma
6
Acidity
7
Body
6
Flavor
7
Aftertaste
7
Origin: Sidamo Province, Southern Ethiopia.
OVERALL RATING: 83
Notes: Some Sidamo coffees are dry-processed, or dried with the fruit still attached to the bean, hence the "washed" in the description of this coffee. From the 1998/99 crop. Blind assessment: A pleasantly sweet, balanced coffee free of vices but short on virtues: "sweet, not overpowering, but clean and bright," wrote one panelist. Best in the aroma, ornamented by agreeable innuendoes panelists variously described as herb, nut and spice. I found this coffee displayed an impressive chocolatey sweetness if approached with patience, but lacked range and dimension.

Ethiopia Yirgacheff
Moledina Commodities
Aroma
6
Acidity
6
Body
6
Flavor
7
Aftertaste
6
Origin: Yirgacheffe growing region, Northern Sidamo Province, South-Central Ethiopia.
OVERALL RATING: 81
Notes: Yirgacheffe is the best-known and most celebrated of Ethiopia wet-processed coffees. From the 1998/99 crop. Moledina Commodities is a leading importer of quality coffees from Africa, Central America and the Pacific. Blind assessment: Smooth, embellished with delicate fruit and floral tones, and understated - apparently too understated for the panel. The herbal and spice notes in the aroma faded and turned vaguely tea-like as the cup cooled. "Nice but unremarkable," one panelist wrote. "The interesting aroma was somewhat lost in the cup."

Ethiopia Limu Gummer Estate
Gourmet Coffee Project
Aroma
7
Acidity
6
Body
6
Flavor
6
Aftertaste
6
Origin: Limu growing region, Western Ethiopia.
OVERALL RATING: 83
Notes: Limu is generally considered the second most prestigious origin for Ethiopia wet-processed coffee after Yirgacheffe. From the 1998/99 crop. Blind assessment: I found myself at odds with most of the panel on this balanced, low-key coffee. What I read (and enjoyed) as pleasant chocolate tones others apparently took as earthy or faintly dirty notes. Or so it seems. But everyone enjoyed the deeply dimensioned, nut-toned aroma.

Ethiopia MT. Weldel Ashi
Gourment Coffee Project
Aroma
6
Acidity
6
Body
6
Flavor
6
Aftertaste
5
Origin: Mt. Welel region, close to the Sudan border, Welega Province, Western Ethiopia.
OVERALL RATING: 81
Notes: Produced by small peasant holders in full shade using traditional growing methods. Like many Ethiopia coffees, probably organically grown, but not certified as such. From the 1998/99 crop. Blind assessment: The nutty, sweet- herbal-toned aroma promised intrigue, but most panelists felt the cup disappointed: the acidity was a touch harsh, the flavor rather rough, the aftertaste astringent. Perhaps too much green, unripe coffee fruit made it to the bag.

Ethiopia Washed Sidamo
Oledina Commodities
Aroma
6
Acidity
6
Body
6
Flavor
6
Aftertaste
6
Origin: Sidamo Province, Southern Ethiopia.
OVERALL RATING: 80
Notes: Other Sidamo coffees may be dry-processed, or dried with the fruit still attached to the bean - hence the "washed" in the description of this coffee. From the 1998/99 crop. Blind assessment: Panelists described a pleasant Ethiopia coffee with hints of citrus, spice, and perhaps something less pleasant: a faint but disturbing undertone described by one panelist as metallic, by another as medicinal, another as baggy or ropelike. Perhaps a slight fault in the drying.

Ethiopia Yirgacheffee
Ethiopian Highland Coffee Co.
Aroma
7
Acidity
7
Body
6
Flavor
8
Aftertaste
7
Origin: Yirgacheffe growing region, Northern Sidamo Province, South-Central Ethiopia.
OVERALL RATING: 80
Notes: Yirgacheffe is the best-known and most celebrated of Ethiopia wet-processed coffees. From the 1997/98 crop. Ethiopian Highland Coffee Co. is a recently established importer specializing in Ethiopia coffees. It is a vertically integrated exporter/importer dedicated to "Rebuilding Ethiopia one bean at a time." Blind assessment: A richly high-toned, citrusy coffee shadowed by a faint defect. The aroma is sweet and floral, the cup brisk and lemony but dulled by a slight but persistent hardness. "Bright, juicy and citrusy, but cooled to dry and gritty," complained one panelist.

Ethiopia Mt.Welel Buri
Gourmet Coffee Project
Aroma
7
Acidity
6
Body
6
Flavor
7
Aftertaste
6
Origin: Mt. Welel region, close to the Sudan border, Welega Province, Western Ethiopia.
OVERALL RATING: 81
Notes: Produced by small peasant holders in full shade using traditional growing methods. Like many Ethiopia coffees, probably organically grown, but not certified as such. Blind assessment: Floral notes shimmer above a chocolate-and-spice pungency. "Small but balanced flavor package" wrote one panelist. The "small" in that description may account for the relatively modest rating of this coffee. Or the weakness may reside in the ambiguity of the underlying pungency, which hinted at a slight hardness.

Ethiopia Yirgacheffee
Royal Coffee
Aroma
8
Acidity
7
Body
7
Flavor
8
Aftertaste
7
Origin: Yirgacheffe growing region, Northern Sidamo Province, South-Central Ethiopia.
OVERALL RATING: 89
Notes: Yirgacheffe is the best-known and most celebrated of Ethiopia wet-processed coffees. From the 1998/99 crop. Royal Coffee is a distinguished California-based importer founded in 1978. Blind assessment: This Yirgacheffe soared straight out of the pack, powered by flowers and spice in the aroma that carried into the cup with charm, depth, and vivacity. Not powerful, but certainly intense, the complexity of nuance provoked enthusiastic (if decidedly non-technical) words of trib te: "Wow," wrote one; "sweet & intense - awesome!" exclaimed another.

Ethiopia Limu Kossa Estate
Gourmet Coffee Project
Aroma
6
Acidity
7
Body
7
Flavor
6
Aftertaste
6
Origin: Limu growing region, Western Ethiopia.
OVERALL RATING: 82
Notes: Limu is generally considered the second most prestigious origin for Ethiopia wet-processed coffee after Yirgacheffe. From the 1998/99 crop. Blind assessment: Panelist opinion was divided whether to call this Limu bland or (as one panelist put it) "comfortable." Most agreed that the aroma tended toward vanilla, berry, and chocolate, that the acidity was bright and sweet, and that the cup was agreeably sweet but underpowered, perhaps shadowed by slight vegetal tones.body and flavor develop nicely."

Ethiopia Washed Sidamo
Golland Coffee Group
Aroma
6
Acidity
6
Body
6
Flavor
7
Aftertaste
6
Origin: Sidamo Province, Southern Ethiopia.
OVERALL RATING: 81
Notes: Some Sidamo coffees are dry-processed, or dried with the fruit still attached to the bean, hence the "washed" in the description of this coffee. From the 1998/99 crop. Blind assessment: A borderline off-taste marred this otherwise fragrantly complex and intense coffee. The body in particular displayed an impressive tongue-coating, velvety persistence. Nevertheless, subdued but disturbing tones that panelists variously described as rough, harsh, or fermented depressed the rating. "This might be a very good dark-roasted coffee," one panelist speculated. "The hardness might mellow out and the intensity of body and flavor develop nicely."

Ethiopia Yirgacheffee
Holland Coffee Group
Aroma
7
Acidity
7
Body
7
Flavor
7
Aftertaste
7
Origin: Yirgacheffe growing region, Northern Sidamo Province, South-Central Ethiopia.
OVERALL RATING: 80
Notes: Yirgacheffe is the best-known and most celebrated of Ethiopia wet-processed coffees. From the 1998/99 crop. Holland Coffee Group, founded in 1988, imports distinguished specialty coffees from all over the world, but particularly specializes in coffees of Indonesia. Blind assessment: A complete, balanced Ethiopia: sweet, full but light-footed, with a soft, floral-toned acidity. The flowers and citrus are delicate but complex, shimmering over a touch of darker tones. "... A good beginner's coffee; not too bold ... balanced," wrote one panelist. The beginner's adjective probably indicates why this attractive coffee failed to provoke a higher rating: It is a bit underpowered, fading quickly in the aftertaste. But I suspect that many American coffee drinkers will love this gentle, roundly nuanced coffee.

Kenneth Davids has written a number of highly influential books on coffee, among them are "Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing," and "Enjoying an Espresso: Ultimate Coffee." In May of 1996, he received the SCAA's "Special Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to Coffee Literature." He can be reached via e-mail at k.davids@teaandcoffee.net.


Tea & Coffee - April 2000
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