Tasting Notes: Lingonberry, Pomegranate, Chocolate Truffle
Mill: Gedeb Shabella
Mill Owner: Getachew Eshete
Region: Kochere, Gedeo
Variety: Indigenous heirloom
The latest Ethiopian coffee we’ve added to our menu and an instant staff favourite in the shop, the Gedeb Shabella is like taking a chocolate truffle and dunking it into a berry compote. Delightfully tart, I roasted this one to bring out the notes of pomegranate and lingonberry (what I describe as a cross between a raspberry and a cranberry), while keeping the cocoa powder richness there as a counterbalance. The coffee is so clean and balanced, it performs excellently with any brew method. I’d recommend a slightly coarser grind; we’ve been finding it grinds finer than our other roasts.
We purchased this coffee from Jeff at Apex Coffee Imports, and it was grown by around 600 smallholder farmers who deliver their cherries to the Gedeb washing station, owned by Getachew. The Gedeb washing station has become a staple in the coffee industry, and it’s largely thanks to Getachew’s skill and experience. It’s rare to hear directly from producers, but Jeff passed along this message from Getachew regarding his meticulous natural process:
"Producing great natural coffees is challenging and it requires at least as much attention to details as producing good washed coffees. The cherries are the hand sorted for un-ripe and over ripe cherries to get a sweeter and cleaner product. The Natural coffee is normally processed at the later part of the harvest and that’s when the harvest is peaking at the higher altitudes. The first face of drying is crucial and are in relatively thin layers on the tables to avoid fermented flavors and it should reach what’s called the “raisin” stage at about 25% moist in a few days. It’s important to move the cherries carefully to avoid damage on the fruit. In the second phase, from 25% - 12% moist, the layers are built up, and it’s constantly moved during daytime, and needs some rest midday and at night. To fast drying will increase the very fruity flavors and make it unstable, but to slow drying can create mould and other off flavors. It’s a costly process that requires good labor and attention if you want it at the highest quality levels."