Among top roasters, one of the most often seen origins for Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffees is from the Kochere growing regions which produces some highly aromatic coffees with floral and citrus notes, sometimes hinting at tea flavors with excellent balanced clean acidity.
A while back, a post on CleanHotDry asked what was more important to you the origin or the roaster when you buy a coffee? Having tasted several examples of these coffees, I am leaning more towards the answer of roaster. Although the general quality of the coffee from this growing region is generally good, roasters still pick the individual lots which can vary greatly in taste, and then must produce a roast that best brings out the quality of the beans. This year, my two favorite examples so far were from Kuma Roasters in Seattle and Madcap Coffee in Grand Rapids.
Kuma Coffee is a small, quality-focused roaster out of Seattle that roasts using a vintage Probat L12 roaster in small 12 pound batches. When their one-way foil bags with arrived with their Kochere espresso, it was my first introduction to their coffees. After pulling it for a week, I definitely look forward to trying more of their coffees.
In terms of pulling this coffee, my favourite shots were pulled with 18 grams in, about 27 grams out in 30 seconds at about 200 degress. This really brought out the crispness of the coffee and made the fir acidity on the end of the shot very subtle and pleasant. Pulling it short caused harshness to come out quickly, so I avoided the ristretto with this coffee. When pulling it for cappuccino, I found the acidity finicky and needed to be tamed more, so I went a bit hotter and longer, although I felt the coffee was best suited in espresso.
For the espresso, the fragrant nose was intriguing with bergamot tea notes combining with lemon notes. On first sip a big crispy lemony taste opened the shot turning into black tea notes and turned to berry sweetness on top of dark chocolate. After taming, the lemon acidity changed into clean fir-tree acidity on the finish leaving a clean refreshing crisp after taste. Mouthfeel felt silky and pleasantly light. This is a great coffee for those who like crispy clean coffees with tea flavours. The fir notes provide an interesting, pleasant variation.
Madcap Coffee has been a quickly rising quality-focused roaster out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is also expanding to the Washington, DC area this year. Since starting up in 2008, they have done very well in many barista competitions and have had a strong presence in the Coffee Commons TEDx project. In Toronto, we have been lucky that Mercury Espresso has been carrying their coffee for the last half year. Their dark black 14 ounce foil bags with one-way valve and stitched on logo are unique, as are many of their coffees that I have enjoyed in tastings and at home. When I buy one of their bags, I usually have high expectations which are often met. The Kochere was no exception.
In terms of pulling this coffee, my starting point were the parameters from Mercury from which I found myself maintain everything, but going a tad longer on the output: with 18 grams in, about 30 grams out in 28 seconds at about 198 degrees. As Kuma’s coffee, tight pulls seemed to increase both sweetness and bitterness, while the longer pull highlight the coffee’s wonderful crispness, complexities, silky mouthfeel, and flavor nuances. The nose was a highlight to begin as big citrus and jasmine florals appeared. Clean citrus and subtle berry acidity opened the shot that rolled on top of a deep dark caramel and molasses flavour. The after taste was short as sweetness combined with a some subtle tea-like florals. In milk, the acidity played nicely as the dark caramel came to the forefront and hints dark chocolate also appeared.
I also had the pleasure of trying this coffee in an Aeropress where I found a bergamot citrus to appear more prominently on the nose, while the cup was a well-balanced clean, crisp cup featuring citrus, floral with deep sweetly rich caramel.
Given often featured Ethiopians on the blog, I felt it was appropriate that I highlight some great examples from the Kochere region that I have been enjoying recently. Kuma and Madcap offer excellent examples of coffees that are clean and crisp and have some interesting subtle flavours including many citrus and tea notes.
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