By: Dustin Fleming
About the Area:
Every coffee nerd dreams of traveling to Ethiopia and visiting a coffee farm. Being the birthplace of coffee, it is truly a paradise for any coffee enthusiast. With mountains covering the western half of the country and rivers/streams that radiate through the soil, Ethiopia is an idyllic location for exotic coffee to grow and flourish. Often times a farmer’s crops are intermingled with other local flora on a mountainside with no defined borders. Coffee has grown in this region since coffee was first consumed and is said to host thousands of different coffee varieties which are usually simplified as “heirloom” to symbolize that they are one of the original varieties to come out of Ethiopia. Barnie’s Ethiopia Ardi comes from the Sidama region and is comprised of various heirloom varietals.
About the process:
Ethiopia was the first to process coffee, therefore considered the original method and often referred to as “natural”. This means that the coffee is picked by hand most of the time, fermented in cement tanks, then dried on raised beds to ensure proper airflow for even drying. Then the coffee is run through a mill to crack the cherry skins off the bean. This produces a very sweet, fruity and acidic cup of coffee.
From the exporter:
“Ethiopia is known as the birthplace of the coffee tree, and the place where human evolution began. This uniquely sweet, heirloom variety coffee is named for Ardipithecus ramidus, an important early human fossil discovered in Ethiopia. Since first tasting these striking beans, Keffa has worked closely with partners in Sidama to ensure care and quality in the processing, sorting, storing, and shipping of this special coffee.
The Sidama region’s rich soil lends rich nutrients and deep color to its coffee. There are few views as striking as a hillside washing station with more than 300 raised beds full of crimson cherries drying in the sun. Good weather means good coffee, and this year’s harvest of Ardi is bountiful and flavorful thanks to healthy rainfall during the growing season.
After small farmers harvest their coffee and bring it to their local mill, hundreds of skillful workers continue to sort out overripe and under-ripe cherries. The coffee dries on raised beds for 8-10 days and is rotated every 30 minutes to promote even drying. The time spent on the raised beds is complemented by 2-3 days of final drying on a concrete patio. This careful attention during natural processing ensures each bean carries the full, distinctive Ardi flavors and aromatics.”
About the taste:
This is a great introduction to a natural Ethiopian coffee. It’s a light-medium bodied coffee with a mouthfeel similar to 2% milk or a sauvignon blanc wine. The acidity is that to a sweet citrus fruit like a tangerine or clementine. Initially, you’ll taste a chocolatey sweetness with hints of berries—you may find the berry flavor to be similar to bing cherries. Once you are deep into the flavor you’ll find coffee blossom tea, or floral. I would recommend this to someone who wants to start their journey into specialty coffees with big sweetness and acidity.