Being a bit of a cycling nut myself, I got a big smile when I opened Broom Wagon Coffee’s shipping envelope and found this morning’s coffee, a honey process from Ethiopia, “wearing” its bag inspired by the Tour de France’s King of the Mountains polka dot jersey! From Broom Wagon’s TdF-inspired packaging (last week’s Sumatra wore the green sprinter’s jersey) to their head badge-like logo, their bicycling-inspired branding is a breath of fresh air. Check out the links and let’s drink some coffee!
Buy this coffee directly for $17/12oz (all orders ship for $4.95 and free shipping on any order over $30!)
BROOM WAGON COFFEE ETHIOPIA YIRGACHEFFE KOKE CO-OP
Today’s coffee comes to us wearing the red and white polka dot jersey of the Tour de France’s King of the Mountains! In a world of minimalist packaging, this jaunty bag sets a different tone on a Monday morning, that’s for sure! This is a somewhat unusual coffee because it is a honey process (pulped natural) from Ethiopia. I’ve drunk a ton of Ethiopian coffee, both natural and washed, but I believe Koke cooperative’s coffee is the only honey process I’ve had from that country. I basically went insane over this coffee when I had it in May 2015, roasted by my good pals at Perc. Honey process doesn’t involve any honey… it’s sort of an in-between hybrid of natural processing (where the coffee is dried on beds with the cherry totally intact, like grapes turning into raisins) and wet process (washed) coffees where the cherry and all its sticky mucilage is removed completely before drying. Honey coffees get run through a pulping machine which removes the skins and some of the sticky mucilage, sometimes called “honey,” and then the seeds (coffee beans!) are laid out to dry with that sticky goop all over them. It tends to create a coffee that has many of the clean, structured qualities of a washed coffee as well as more body, fruitiness and sweetness often associated with a natural.
I don’t know of any other co-ops in Ethiopia producing honey coffee because Koke’s is the only one I’ve had and I don’t know that I’ve seen any others. This grows at 2100masl and was sourced by Ally Coffee in Greenville, South Carolina. Jeremias and Rachel give us flavor notes of, “clean tropical fruit, blueberries and vanilla.” I used my standard 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino pourover with Kalita 185 filters. This is a heavy bean, so you’ll need to use a good amount of agitation when brewing to keep the water moving at the right speed. If this Koke honey process is anything like last year’s crop, then it works as espresso and especially cold brew, too, if that’s your thing. I didn’t have as much time to stretch out with this bag as I did with Perc’s coffee last year, but this was a super-versatile bean last year and it probably is this year, too.
Aroma in the cup is really nice and floral. All sorts of flowery aromas really spring from the cup, even as it is cooling down. Definitely one of the more floral Ethiopian coffees recently that I can remember. I usually don’t have a good memory for coffees that I have had, as in this case, a year and a half ago, but this one takes me right back to that bag from Perc I had last May. This coffee has a big, creamy mouthfeel and body. This is a fairly bright but also balanced coffee, with the acidity coming from tropical fruits, like pineapple. Think about how sweet pineapple is, but it also has that acid kick… this coffee is just like that. There is a hint of blueberry in this cup, but I was also getting a little blackberry in the finish. Vanilla comes out in the sweet finish and lingers long into the aftertaste in this coffee. I usually don’t pick up on vanilla but I do in this cup, for sure. I know roasters hate when I say this but I dipped into this bag for a re-visit of this coffee this morning as I typed my review notes into this article and just about a month off-roast it’s still killer. This is easily going to rank as one of this year’s best Ethiopian coffees, for me.
Broom Wagon Coffee is definitely a brand to keep your eye on. Their Sumatra I reviewed last week was really good and this Koke co-op is amazing! The branding is cool, the bags are fun and the coffee is beautifully roasted. If you have a bike and coffee nerd on your holiday gift list, you simply must get a couple bags of Broom Wagon’s coffee for them this year.