Happy Monday, friends! This morning I have another one of Airship Coffee’s selections, this time a natural from Ethiopia! Check out the links below and then we’ll see what this coffee is all about!
AIRSHIP COFFEE ETHIOPIA KONGA NATURAL
Airship Coffee is one of a fast-growing list of Arkansas-based roasters who are absolutely killing it in the coffee game these days. I keep talking about planning a northwest Arkansas roadtrip and I keep not doing it. Shame on me. Konga is located in Ethiopia’s famed Gedeo zone, right next door to Yirghachefe, Harfusa, Biloya and other vaunted coffee microregions in the area. The veritable birthplace of coffee! Today’s coffee from Airship is a natural from Konga, which is comprised of any number of the thousands of heirloom coffee varietals growing naturally throughout Ethiopia today. The farmers contributing to this co-op grow around 1600masl and Airship give us tasting notes of, “strawberry jam, pineapple, chocolate” for this one. Yum x3!
A short word about varietals… there are different species of coffees, the two main being Robusta (which we don’t drink much of, but check out my story on Vietnamese coffee for more on that species!) and Arabica. Within the Arabica species there are many varieties. Think of the apple section of a good grocery store. All those apples are apples but they are all different varieties. Your hard, tart Granny Smith, mushy Red Delicious or crisp, floral, super sweet Honeycrisp, not to mention 100 others, are all apples, but they have individual characteristics unique to their variety, too. Coffee works the same way. And “heirloom” varietals are simply ones that developed naturally over time without purposeful development by people. Like those weird, ugly tomatoes that taste incredible at the farmer’s market? Those are heirloom tomatoes and because Ethiopia has thousands and thousands of unnamed varieties of coffee growing there, it’s easier to just call it all “heirloom.”
Now, more about this coffee. I used my usual 1:16 ratio (28g coffee, 450g water) in the notNeutral pourover with Kalita 185 bleached filters. I got lots of floral aromas from the cup as well as strawberry jam as it cooled. My first couple sips gave me that Frankenberry cereal type of strawberry flavor that always makes me smile when I find it in coffee! There is definitely a lot of pineapple in this cup, too, especially toward the end of the sip and into the finish, which is pretty neutral. There is a long aftertaste that features a bit of ferment, which I absolutely love, and a melange of both very rip strawberry and pineapple.
There is a little bit of soft, sweet lemon acidity, too, but the lift in this coffee comes mostly from the acidity I would associate with both strawberries and pineapples. There is also just the right amount of ferment to give this coffee a little tartness (think of a pineapple or strawberry that is super ripe, maybe a day past, even). I know some coffee drinkers despise ferment but I love it in coffee and this one has just enough to add complexity and a little tartness without being overtly funky (although I love a really funky natural, too!). The pineapple is actually pretty insane in this coffee… even re-visiting this coffee about a month off-roast as I type this, the pineapple is right in my face and not a subtle note I have to dig for. This would be a good “calibration” coffee for what pineapple tastes like in a natural coffee because it is all over this cup! This coffee has a pretty decent body with a slightly milky/creamy vibe to it, too, and it makes for a complex, yet super-drinkable and downright refreshing and vibrant coffee for this hot summer we’re having. Another awesome coffee from my pals at Airship! That’s 2 for 2 now and I still have two left to write about! Woohoo!