I’ve been enjoying the fruity and hoppy unwashed Ethiopian Sidamo that we’ve had in these past couple of months. The berry notes are mellow and smooth, and complement the body maintained by our high altitude roasting. With that said, I came across an interesting article and report on National Public Radio talking about how far Ethiopian coffees have come, particularly since they were known as “Jimma 5” coffee. Jimma 5 coffee was known for containing all 5 of the major defects; the more defects you have in your green beans, the worse it is and therefore an inevitability of a bad cup of coffee (unless you like Folgers and such). Inspecting the Specialty Grade beans from Ethiopia anymore and you find very clean, very uniform beans. Perhaps it is the nationalization of the Ethiopian coffee industry and their country-wide use of the logo. Perhaps it is due to assistance programs. Perhaps it is due to evermore sophisticated palates. In nay case, I for one am grateful to have Ethiopian on hand and ready to roast, grind, and brew.
Nutty, chocolate, herbaceous, flowery, rich, full, fruity, spicy â€“ these are all words we use when attempting to describe that magical flavor of brewed coffee that most of us know all too well. But few of us really know much about the plant itself.
Coffee plants are kept no larger than five meters tall in cultivation and produce fruits called â€œdrupesâ€ which resemble berries. Inside the drupe is the green bean used to make our favorite drink. Coffee plants usually produce their first fruits two to four years after planting and can produce as little as one pound of dry beans and as much as ten pounds each year, depending on the climate and the plant itself. For this reason it takes a boatload of commitment and care for coffee production.
There are two main species of shrubs cultivated for our drinking pleasure: Coffea robusta and Coffea arabica. Here at The Buena Vista Roastery, we believe that starting with the highest quality raw ingredients available is the only way to create a product we can be proud of and so we use only specialty grade C. arabica for our coffees. This specific â€œArabica coffeeâ€ is believed to have originated in Ethiopia, while the first record of its actual consumption was in Yemen, located on the Arabian Peninsula.
One of our favorite coffees here at The Roastery is our Yemen Mocha Sanani. In its name, the â€œMochaâ€ refers not to chocolate, but to the port of Mokha on the Red Sea which is the main port for trade out of Yemen’s capital of Sana’a. This coffee is considered a â€œheritage coffeeâ€ because it most closely resembles the coffee first consumed in Yemen in the 15th century. The coffee, when roasted is beautifully varied from one bean to the next. The flavor is wonderfully nutty and spicy. Here at The Roastery, we love to brew up a pot of this exotic coffee on a snowy day like today and enjoy not only its balanced flavor and subtleties, but also the history that is inevitably brewed up in every pot.