Today’s review is Brandywine Coffee Roasters’ Ethiopian Hambela Estate Washed coffee from their Process Series, a two-pack of the same coffee from the same farm, each processed differently. I reviewed the Natural process version of this coffee last week, so check that link out for more in-depth information about Brandywine and that coffee, which I loved!
Brandywine Coffee Roasters is the roasting arm of BrewHaHa!, a staple coffee shop with 8-9 stores in northern Delaware and Wilmington. Brandywine started earlier in 2015 and is off to a great start. I absolutely LOVE the aesthetic on their branding and packaging and the Process Series is beautifully presented and amazingly priced.
The Process Series sells for $20 and features two 8oz bags of coffee tied together by white string and topped with a melted wax stamp. It’s super-classy and unique and this would make a fantastic gift for any coffee lover, too. Oh, and the coffee inside is really great, too!
Buy the Hambela Estate Process Series for $20 from Brandywine Coffee Roasters.
Buy a 12oz bag of Washed Hambela Estate for $15.
Buy a 12oz bag of Natural Hambela Estate for $15.
This Process Series was full of surprises for me. I found the Natural version of the coffee to be surprisingly light and, well, washed-like with a clean profile and light body. Based on that coffee, I figured the Washed version would be super-light and tea-like, as Ethiopian washed coffees can certainly be, yet what I found in the bag was full-bodied, had a long aftertaste and was a lot more like a Kenyan that an ultra-light washed Ethiopian!
These coffees come from the Hambela Estate, located in Guji in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. They are grown in the 1900-2200masl range and consist of heirloom varieties (thousands of unnamed Arabica varieties grow in Ethiopia).
Washed, or wet-processed, coffees are coffees that are processed to remove the seeds (what we call “beans”) from the fruit. The skins and sticky mucilage are removed using a variety of steps outlined in more detail in this article, and then the coffees are dried in the sun. Washed coffees tend to have a cleaner profile than natural coffees, which are dried with the cherry still intact. In Ethiopia, natural coffees tend to have a full-body and tons of fruit (usually berries… used to be blueberries, but this year the profile on washed Ethiopians is definitely strawberry and raspberry to a lesser extent) flavors. Washed Ethiopian coffees, on the other hand, tend to be really light-bodied, clean, lemony and to my palate often have more in common with tea than coffee.
Because of how light the Natural was, I thought this Washed version of the Hambela Estate coffee would be exceptionally light and it was not, which I enjoyed! If I had been blind-tasting this coffee and was asked to identify the region, I probably would’ve called it a Kenyan, in fact. This washed coffee has nice aromas of florals that didn’t carry over into the flavor, for me.
The body has a creamy texture and a long aftertaste and it’s really full-bodied for a washed Ethiopian coffee. There is sweet orange acidity in the cup and there is a savory component to the finish that, coupled with the acidity, reminded me of that tomatoey flavor I pick up in a lot of Kenyan coffees. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that from an Ethiopian coffee, but it was very enjoyable. The cup is sweet and balanced by the brightness and nice and clean in its profile.
I was really surprised and happy about this Process Series from Brandywine Coffee Roasters. The presentation is awesome, the price is not out of bounds, both coffees are separately available, too, and each coffee is a unique example of the origin and processing and has a ton of difference to compare and contrast side by side. I can’t wait to see what else Brandywine does with their Process Series and I hope to share more of their coffee with you in the coming months!