Yirgacheffe (which translates to “Land of Many Springs”) has perhaps the perfect terroir for producing high quality coffee; the combination of altitude, biodiversity, and proximity to water sources is simply unmatched.
The climate is warm and temperate, with wet summers and dry winters, providing structured seasons for growing, harvesting, and processing coffee. To the naked eye the hills of Yirgacheffe appear to be heavily forested, but in reality they are densely populated with villages of farmers growing what is commonly referred to as “garden” coffee.
The majority of these farmers are multi-generational producers, who operate on just a few acres of land, more similar in size to gardens than full production farms.
These producers typically sell their coffee as whole cherries to centralized mills, which help to establish distinct flavor profiles through implementing meticulous standards for sorting, grading, and processing coffee.
“Ethiopian Heirloom” and “Landrace Varieties” are generic terms that refers to the massive number of coffee varieties present within Ethiopia (The current estimation is between six and ten thousand).
Little genetic testing has been performed in order to distinguish between Heirlooms because natural cross-pollination is constantly creating new varieties in the wild.
Additionally, the majority of coffee coming out of Ethiopia, including the coffee that makes up this lot, is being produced by thousands of smallholder farmers, further complicating traceability.
The lack of information regarding specific varieties presents some challenges that can make sourcing Ethiopian coffees more difficult. A coffee’s variety usually provides importers and roasters with insight into flavor, body, acidity, etc.; losing that insight means that more time and resources must be allocated to find lots that match desired profiles.
Despite these challenges “Ethiopian Heirlooms” are coveted because they produce coffees with highly unique and diverse flavors.
This naturally processed lot is the product of attentive processing from the excellent staff at the Chelchele washing station.
Pour over brewing will yield an intriguing cup with prominent floral aromatics, a mild stone fruit acidity, and the sweetness of fresh berries. Expect the initial aroma of jasmine to transition into slightly more fruitful notes, cooling to present the herbaceous qualities of hibiscus.
The AeroPress will offer a slightly less complex, yet more full-bodied and fruitful, cup with a cream-like mouthfeel. Expect a wide array of stone-fruit notes (such as plum and apricot) to be met with the pleasant tartness of raspberry and the lingering sweetness of simple syrup.