This morning I’m back in Africa with my last (oh noooo!) coffee from the wonderful folks at Agape Roasting in Denver, CO. This time we have an Ethiopian natural and, spoiler, it’s very “adult” and has a lot of nuance, and I found it to be absolutely beautiful! Read on, my friends!
AGAPE ROASTING ETHIOPIA SHAKISO GUJI HIGHLAND
Brad and Jen Baltz, the good people behind Agape Roasting, have impressed the heck out of me! Their coffee is proving to be really exceptional, and they donate 100% of the profits to charities of all sorts. That’s amazing! All too often with “charity coffee,” however, there seems to be a gap between the mission and the execution, on the coffee side of things. So-so sourcing and/or roasting. This is absolutely not the case for Agape Roasting, though! They are sourcing excellent coffees and doing this very good justice in their roasting. Delicious, sweet, balanced, inviting cups and with a cool mission on the back end. Very cool and, in my opinion, Brad and Jen are setting the bar for what charity coffee should be, without a doubt. Read the links above, especially the Westword article, to find out more about this amazing mission, and let’s get on to today’s coffee!
This final farewell coffee (booo hoooo) from Agape Roasting is a natural from the Guji Highlands. Guji Zone is found in southern Ethiopia and is part of the Oromia region, which I just learned is HUGE! Oromia stretches almost entirely across the middle of Ethiopia from east to west, and then also extends into the south, so it’s a huge region encompassing many different geographical areas of the country. Shakiso is a town in the Guji Zone and while Guji isn’t terribly far from Yirgacheffe and its surroundings, the coffees of southern Ethiopia and Guji, especially, are quite different and unique. Naturals are fairly common in Guji and it’s usually the washed coffees that get the rave reviews from this zone, but I have to tell you this natural selected and roasted by Agape is out of this world! Agape gives us tasting notes of, “cherry pie filling, milk chocolate, simple syrup, hint of jasmine” for this coffee and while my notes weren’t in full agreement, either way your palate falls, you’ll be one happy coffee drinker!
I used my standard pourover setup for this coffee of a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper with Kalita 185 filter. I use Third Wave Water for all my brewing and my Handground grinder was set to 3.
Aroma on this cup is light but has some berry notes in it. This is also a light-medium bodied coffee and it’s not a “whack you over the head with its natural-ness” natural! Let’s see what we have here… Up front there is a little bit of fresh raspberry and a hint of ferment, so I guess that is the giveaway, although this is a very subtle natural, to be certain. There is a good amount of peach (you know what I think about that, YUM!) and a hint of apricot in this cup, too. The mild raspberry note gives way to that soft white peach tone, and then that evolves into the middle and second half of the sip where I get a bit more acidity and slight tartness, which signals the shift into apricot territory for my palate. The acidity is definitely apricot-y, but there is also a bit of lemon in there, and this nice acidity lingers long into the finish. The second half of the sip has some noticeable black tea notes and a bit of a drying effect (I wouldn’t call it astringent) on my tongue, giving this coffee a dry finish and a tea-like character overall. If I put several minutes between sips (good luck, it’s hard to do!) I do get a distinct graham cracker note as well as hints of bergamot as with Earl Grey tea.
Ethiopian naturals can often be fruity sugar bombs and while I love those, too, they can sometimes come off as almost candy-like. I often describe the other end of the natural coffee spectrum as being more “adult” and this cup definitely falls into the latter. It’s structured and clean and super delicious, but the dry finish, more subtle sweetness and other complexities of this cup give it something more than the typical big, fruity, sweet Ethiopian natural flavor profile. Everything about this coffee is a delight! It did take me a couple minutes of sipping to really settle into this coffee, and a cooler cup does wonders for opening up the flavors, but once my mind was calibrated to what this coffee was all about, I enjoyed it immensely. Big ups to Agape Roasting for their mission and ethics, as well as their excellent handling of this vehicle, coffee, that allows them to do what they find so important. That’s just the extra icing on the cake! Hopefully this is not the last we’ll see of Agape Roasting here on KC Coffee Geek, dear readers!!!