Cimarron Coffee Roasters is located in souwthwest Colorado with the roastery in Montrose and Cimarron Books & Coffeehouse in the tiny town of Ridgway (pop. 924). Ridgway got its start as a railroad town serving Telluride, which may be a familiar name to some readers. The company is named after the Cimarron Range, a group of peaks that are part of the San Juan mountains. Cimarron Books & Coffeehouse started in 1991 and Eric purchased it in 2013. He started roasting coffee at home shortly afterward, which led to the purchase of a 3kg roaster and the start of the roastery. Eric has been an active member of the Home-Barista.com website, which is for true obsessives, and he reached out to me to send me a couple of his coffees as well as a notNeutral Lino mug, which still reigns supreme as my favorite type of coffee cup!
The coffees Eric sent are from Asasa, a washing station in the Yirgacheffe zone in Ethiopia. He sent me both the dry process and washed versions of the same coffee, and I always love comparing different processing of the same coffee, so this is going to be fun!
Today I am looking at the washed version, which is not listed on Cimarron’s website at the moment, but here is the link to the natural. Maybe I got the last of the washed or perhaps Eric hasn’t listed it on the site for purchase yet. Here is the link for the Asasa washed process, available directly from Cimarron Coffee Roasters for $14/10oz bag.
Washed coffees are processed in a way that the seeds (what we call “beans”) of the cherry are removed from the skins and pulp of the fruit, then they’re fermented in holding tanks for a day or two to remove the rest of the mucilage/pulp and laid out to dry. This process generally results in clean coffees with lots of clarity in the flavors. Washed Yirgacheffes tend to be rather tea-like in body and flavor, favoring lemon or lime acidity and delicate flavors (to my palate). Eric’s roast of this washed Yirg looked to be a bit darker, visually, than some I’ve been having recently, so I was hoping this may result in a different cup than the “usual” (not a complaint… I love “the usual” as it pertains to washed Ethiopian coffees!).
I used my notNeutral Gino pour over dripper with Kalita 185 filters and my usual 1:16 (28g coffee, 450g water) ratio for a total brew time of around 3:30-3:45 for my samples of this coffee. As suspected, the slightly darker roast on this coffee (a solid “medium” roast or what I’d guess is a city+ if you’re a roasting geek) yielded some different flavors and I really enjoyed this coffee.
The more developed sugars in the roast brought more body into the cup. Sometimes with washed Ethiopian coffees that are very lightly roasted I’ll get an Earl Grey flavor and a watery, thin body. I’ve had some that I would swear were tea if I didn’t know better. This slightly more developed roast caramelizes more sugars and that leant more body and sweetness to the cup. I was getting some lemon acidity to brighten it up and lift the flavors some, as well as a nice roasted/grilled peach note in the sweetness. There was a bit of dryness in the finish and a hint of tartness in the aftertaste that supported the notion of grilled fruits. The aftertaste had some pineapple character to it for me, too.
I really enjoyed this cup. The pineapple/peach fruit sweetness and lemon acidity played really nicely with one another and the bigger body was a nice change of pace for coffee for a washed coffee from this region. Washed Yirgacheffes can take a roast pretty nicely but it’s easy to overdo it and lose a lot of what makes a Yirg special. Eric found an wonderful balance with this roast level and I’m always a sucker for coffees that I can find peach flavors in, so this was a big win for my palate! I can’t wait to try the natural version and compare the two, but I already know it has its work cut out for it based on this washed sample from Cimarron!