This recent collection of coffees Dagger Mountain Roastery (Valparaiso, IN) sent me has been killer! This last coffee from them I’m reviewing is their natural Hambela from Ethiopia, and as an added bonus, this is also an organic coffee! Let’s check it out!
Purchase this coffee for $19/12oz. SOLD OUT
DAGGER MOUNTAIN ROASTERY ETHIOPIA HAMBELA
This natural from Ethiopia is a recurring coffee for Dagger Mountain, so while it’s not available currently, you can bet it will be back on the roster as soon as a new crop is available. This coffee is an organic natural process from the Guji Zone in Ethiopia. Natural coffees get picked, sorted and dried with the cherry still intact. As the cherry dries out, like a raisin, some breakdown of the sugars inside the fruit happens, as does some fermentation. The byproducts of this are passed onto the seeds inside the cherries, what we call coffee beans, and those coffee beans are like little flavor sponges. As a result, natural coffees tend to have a lot of sweetness, good body and plenty of fruity notes. This particular coffee was grown at altitudes of 1900-2200masl, which is high and I found it made for some pretty dense beans. Dagger Mountain gives us tasting notes of, “Sweet, cherry, tangerine, floral.”
I used my usual pourover setup, although this coffee did just about stall on my normal 3 setting on the Handground grinder. I opened it up to 3.5 for subsequent preparations and that helped keeped the extraction going. Dense beans like this can sink to the bottom of the brewer and clog the filter, so pouring with a vigorous pour to keep things agitated can help, too. I used a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino and used Third Wave Water for my samples.
There are some nice florals in the aroma of this cup and they come through in the flavor, too. I’m greeted by a medium bodied cup with a quick flash of floral notes on the front end of the sip followed by sweetness and a bit of acidity. There is a light and sweet citrus character to the acidity, which is pretty mellow for this coffee, so I think the tangerine descriptor is a good one. This isn’t a really berry-forward natural, which is the usual profile for an Ethiopian natural. I get some raspberry as well as quite a bit of cherry (a rare find in a natural drip-prepared coffee, for me, so that’s great!) in the sweetness and throughout the sip. The finish is just a touch on the dry side of neutral with a spiciness in the lingering aftertaste. As the cup cools a hint of lemon comes into the acidity and the cherry gets really accentuated. I find this to be a lively, refreshing cup but with that “sparkle” coming from the fruity sweetness rather than from the acidity where I usually find it.
It’s easy to see why Dagger Mountain loves this coffee so much. It has a good amount of complexity without losing any familiarity, so it’s still very approachable. That cherry is not a common flavor note to find in an Ethiopian natural, in my opinion, so it’s a bit of a rarity. As far as naturals go, this is a pretty clean cup with just a light ferment hint and it’s super drinkable and super delicious! Can’t ask for more than that! This round of coffee from Dagger Mountain has been amazing and they’re doing some really good sourcing and excellent roasting of their coffees. I’m super impressed and grateful for Dagger Mountain sending out all those samples to share with readers!