The roast takes equal place with the coffee in the success of this darker roasted Yirgacheffe, proving, in co-cupper Christy Thorns' (91) words, "the amazing roasting range that a fine Ethiopian coffee can withstand." Christy finds "stone fruit, licorice, black pepper, citrus, rose petal and lavender" in the aroma and cup. Ken (90) also admired the rich floral and sweet citrus character.
Ethiopia and Kenya: The World's Most Distinctive Coffees
By Kenneth Davids
October 1st, 2004
For both Ken (90) and co-cupper Christy Thorns (91), extraordinary aroma: For Christy "freshly grown ginger, orange peel, apricot, mint and lemon." Ken stressed the "caramelly fruit that transforms completely into chocolate." In the cup, smooth, creamy mouthfeel and, for Ken, a character "sweetly and deeply tart - dark chocolate and lemon."
Co-cupper Christy Thorns' (90) reading was precise and explicit: "The aromatics of this coffee undulate from desert lime, orange peel, lemon zest to eucalyptus and jasmine blossom. These characteristics do not carry over into the cup, however, but instead a delicate candied sweetness and roasted nut flavor dominate with a hint of ginger in the finish." Ken (90), just as positive but less specific, was content to praise a rich wine, fruit and floral character. Either way, a complex cup with great aromatic richness and range.
Both Ken (92) and co-cupper Christy Thorns (88) remarked on an odd (and for Ken an interesting) character to the aroma. Christy called it "stewed berry," Ken - a rich, almost meaty impression - Dijon mustard and ripe tomatoes.? In the cup Christy found "the acidity a bit timid, [though] the sugary sweetness of the finish more than compensates." Ken admired the "sweet, gently tart fruitiness" of the acidity, finding it more elegant than timid.
Ken (91) admired this coffee a bit more than co-cupper Christy Thorns (88), who praised its "gentle grapefruit-like acidity and a nicely rounded, sweet and berry finish" but didn't carry on about it much. For his part, Ken particularly admired this coffee's citrus-toned acidity, which he found sweet, rounded, and "profoundly rich and cleanly and elegantly wine-like."
A striking and distinctive coffee. Co-cupper Christy Thorns (89) admired its complex aromatics: "dried apricot, orange zest, clove, citronella." Ken (90) found a gingery chocolate and lemon that for him was unusual and surprising, which may be why he was slightly more willing than Christy to forgive a slight, shadow salty cling as the cup cooled.
Co-cupper Christy Thorns reduced her score to 89 for this Kenya because she felt its chocolate and spice inclinations were not characteristic of the origin. Ken started at 88 and stayed there. He had no problem admiring the chocolate-inclining sweet citrus character he read in aroma and cup, but felt that ultimately the cup was a bit too simple for a top rating.
The roast dominates the coffee, but agreeably so. Co-cupper Christy Thorns: "Multi-layered with roasty bitter chocolate, stewed prunes, raisins, and sweet spice. (89)" Ken: "Rich, deeply roasty and bittersweet, excellent dimension, dry berry and floral tones shimmer behind the roastiness. Chocolate toward the finish. (88)" Christy concludes that, although the profile may lack top-notes, a "syrupy body makes for a powerhouse of a cup."
Although co-cupper Christy Thorns (87) felt the Ethiopia citrus and floral notes turned "somewhat passive" under the impact of the roast, she praised the "complex aromatics of ginger, clove and toasted grain" and a spicy finish. Ken also found spice notes also in the aroma (black pepper, clove), but particularly admired the cup for its round mouthfeel and "juicy and sweet but vegetal" character, "a bit like biting into a ripe plum and tasting the skin and the flesh at the same time." What we can take away from all of this is a coffee with less floral and citrus character than a classic wet-processed Ethiopia, but with more spice and tingle.
This coffee displayed a very slight "old crop" (faded, musty-mildew) character that caused co-cupper Christy Thorns to drop her score to 86. Ken (90) felt this shadow defect hardly mattered, however, given the cup's "almost effervescent delicacy, with tickles of sweet cocoa, pipe-tobacco and caramel." Christy offered a similar reading of the cup, but with less enthusiasm: "Although a hint of mustiness somewhat masks the sweetness of the cup, tobacco, cedar and black pepper give this coffee some charm."