Here is the first coffee in our 2016 Explorer Series: Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Kochere. If you are a long-time Heine Brothers’ supporter you’ve probably noticed that we buy a lot of Ethiopian coffee. We’ve been known to carry two or three different Ethiopian coffees simultaneously. The reason for this is simple; Ethiopia produces many excellent coffees. Each one is delicious and distinct from the others. This offering from the Kochere district of Yirgacheffe is a fun and interesting standout from coffee’s homeland.
For those of you who like geography, Yirgacheffe is located east of Abaya Lake in the Bale Mountains of southern Ethiopia. This particular lot comes from a 1,600 member producer cooperative called Hama. In 2015 Hama farmers produced about 7 containers, or approximately 230,000 lbs. of green coffee. Of those, one container was natural processed. Of that container, we got our hands on two bags.
Natural, or dry-processed, coffees are common in the marketplace, but it takes extra care and attention to produce a truly special lot of natural coffee. Without getting deep into the weeds of coffee cherry processing, let’s just say that washed coffees require a great deal more resources (i.e. water) than naturals, but to do it right, naturals require much more manual labor.
A natural coffee begins with only ripe cherries that are painstakingly sorted to remove unripes, over-ripes, and debris. It’s traditional in Ethiopia to dry cherries on raised drying beds that are basically long tables with mesh tabletops. After two or three weeks in the sun, the cherries are now coffee raisins. During the extended sunbathing, the cherries infuse huge ripe fruit flavor and lots of body to the seeds within. Once the green seeds are removed from the dried fruit it’s sorted a final time, bagged, and shipped.
We select our natural processed coffees for specific flavor notes: fruit up front and chocolate finish. This Yirgacheffe is no exception. You may be familiar with the washed Yirgacheffe we carried in summers past. Its lighter body and distinct lemon and bergamot flavors make that coffee an excellent choice for iced pourovers on the hottest afternoons in July and August. This dry processed version from Kochere adds an interesting twist to that classic Yirgacheffe profile. You’ll recognize the lemony black tea immediately, but this time with a spritz of raspberry.
We love this coffee on any pourover method of your choice, Chemex or Kalita being ideal. But, a French press will serve you well with this coffee, too. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!