Another Ethiopian delight from our very good friend Israel Degfa (who you may know from Ana Sora)! This is our fifth year of buying from him, and we're really excited to have a new coffee from him for 2021.
For those of you who may not be familiar with Israel, he's a second-generation coffee farmer who grew up immersed in various aspects of the coffee industry. His father was a mill manager and his mum sold coffee in the local bus station to commuters.
My last visit to Ethiopia was in December 2019 and I'm so pleased I was able to potter by and catch up with Israel before all this pandemic hoo-hah kicked off. Stevie Storytime 📕🙌 during my most recent trip we were driving together down a rough road that was part-way through being built when we blew out two tires at the same time. We had been travelling for 12 hours in the car and there wasn't a tyre shop anywhere nearby - so we got stuck in the middle of nowhere in the dark for three hours 😱 Thankfully one of the farm managers kindly drove out to us with a car which we took back to the house, and he slept in our car all night to keep an eye on it until the tyre shop opened. What a top bloke, he was our knight in shining armour!
Ethiopian coffee farms are high in general compared to other producing countries (mostly between 1,700 - 2,100 masl) but Uraga is on the higher side still, reaching as high as 2300 masl. The altitude helps with the slower maturation of the coffee cherry (owing in part to the generally lower temperatures and cooler nights) and allows more time for the plant to develop, which contributes to the super unique cup profile we see in coffees from Ethiopia.
Coffee growing is popular locally, and Israel also sources coffee from the surrounding area. Each washing station has around 1,000-2,000 members, each with one of the small home coffee plots typical of Ethiopia producing very small quantities. The area is populated by smallholder farmers who speak Oromife and are of Oromo ethnicity. Israel believes in helping these farmers through both education in husbandry, and financial assistance.
Uraga is located in the Guji zone, due East of Yirgacheffe, bordering Sidamo in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. Over a number of years, the region has developed a distinguished reputation for amazing coffees, producing some of the most sought-after micro-lots in world. The combination of high altitude (up to 2,300m in some areas), fertile soil, consistent & plentiful rains, and an abundance of local knowledge are all contributing factors to the high status of coffees from this area. The indigenous ‘heirloom’ varietals - which grow wild in Ethiopia - are heavily responsible for the unique flavour notes which make Ethiopian coffees a major customer favourite.
This starts with juicy and fresh yellow plums. That fruit is joined by a floral edge on the finish, like hibiscus. On the aftertaste that yellow fruit keeps going, but with the clean and delicate flavour of cloudberry lingering.
- Country: Ethiopia
- Zone: Guji
- Region: Oromia
- Mill: Uruga
- Mill Location: Uraga Solemo
- Owner: Israel Degfa
- Altitude: 2,300 m.a.s.l.
- Varietal: Indigenous wild varietals
- Processing method: Natural
Yellow plum, cloudberry, hibiscus
Clean cup: (1–8): 7
Sweetness: (1–8): 6.5
Acidity: (1–8): 6.5
Mouthfeel: (1–8): 6
Flavour: (1–8): 7
Aftertaste: (1–8): 6
Balance: (1–8): 6
Overall: (1–8): 7
Correction: (+36): +36
Total: (max. 100): 88
Medium - this needs to go a little hotter than you might expect, but you're still looking for a medium roast, through first crack, steadily pushed through the gap and finishing the roast before second gets going.