This is the part that I love about this job – adding new coffees to the menu. Especially naturals, a particular favorite of mine.
For those wondering, a “natural” is also known as a dry-process coffee because the fruit is dried in the sun instead of dunked in water (which results in a “washed” coffee), which is not exactly “unnatural”. The net result of natural processing is an earthier, fruiter cup, frequently “winey”.
Once again I was smitten with an Ethiopian Sidamo. It’s hard for me to say I have an absolute favorite origin, but certainly within regions I do have faves. In Africa, it’s Ethiopia for me. And within Ethiopia, it’s southern Ethiopia. And within southern Ethiopia, give me the naturals.
And so, from the Shanta Golba Cooperative comes this lovely elixir. Baby A (aka Veggie Girl) and I spent about ten minutes this morning just sniffing it and trying to describe the dry aromas. She said “bananas”, and then I could smell them, too, in addition to nearly overwhelming sweet fruits like cherry. In the cup, the fruits absolutely assault you before retreating to allow the dusky leather to reveal itself in the finish. If this coffee were wine, it would be a cuvee of savignon blanc (for the sharpness), merlot (for the fruit) and sangiovese (for the finish). I know it sounds weird, but it works, I promise.
To add to the appeal, it’s Organic, Fair Trade Certified. You gotta try this one, with the caveat that, like other naturals, they are not for everyone.
WWJD (What Would Jim Drink today?): The Golba inspired me, and might be the one coffee worthy of blending with the Guji (though the question “why?” may still be valid). So I whipped up an experimental espresso, code named Blonde, not for its IQ but rather for its finish – ultra light (I just realized in addition to the color, the analogy works with the stereotype, too), like interupt first crack light, which for those of you who blend know is always risky, but especially so for espresso. I’m sipping it now, thinking it needs another day to rest. Or it may need another 10 degrees of finish temperature. It’s so far from the norm of how I blend I’m not sure what to say about it. The quality is excellent, for what it is – a sharp, bright, fruity espresso reminiscent of Cafe Fiorre – it’s the best one I’ve ever had. The question is whether espresso should taste like this, and to answer that I will need other opinions. So to all my espresso homies – come over and get some, then give me you opinions.