Holy Schmidt that is a big hand! Or is it a small sample bag? You decide. LOL Sorry, but the name invites a lot of puns and double entendres. I will say the best of the worst goes to Drew from Corner of the Cafe when he wrote that their Costa Rica Carrizal, “was a heavenly cup of ‘Job.’ It might not be the godshot you’re looking for, but it’s definitely one hell of a revelation, falling just shy of divine.” Terrible, Drew, just terrible. 🙂
I received this coffee out of the blue from Holy Schmidt about a month ago and as much as I like surprises, it takes a while to fit the reviews into the queue. All that being said, this coffee is still available directly from Holy Schmidt for $17/12 oz bag. I know precious little about Holy Schmidt except that the company is owned by Bijou and Callie Schmidt and was founded, like so many others, as a vehicle to do good works through charities and other projects. Unlike so many others, though, they seem to have made a go of it and I’ve been interested in trying their coffee for a long time. Admittedly, their Bijou Blend gets a lot of social media traffic and so I was under the mistaken assumption that they only make one or two coffees, so I never went out of my way to get a sample. Luckily, they rectified that themselves!
This coffee is a natural/dry-process coffee (the cherries are picked and sorted and then dried with the fruit and skins intact, which are later removed by milling. Usually gives a lot of fruit flavors and body and sweetness to the coffee) that is a direct trade selection from the Rophi Village in the Sidamo (sometimes spelled Sidama, same place) region of Ethiopia. Sidamo is in southern Ethiopia and the famed coffee city of Yirgacheffe is found here. This region is well known for the quality of its washed coffees, but good naturals come out of here as well. The coffee grows high at an altitude of 1900-2000 meters above sea level (masl) and Bijou used a fairly light roast on these beans to coax some of their origin character out.
Holy Schmidt offers tasting notes of, “almost ripe tropical fruit, lavendar, blueberries, blackberries, light brown sugar, black cherry sweetness” for this coffee. Sounds good, but how did I like it?
The dry fragrance on the beans and grounds were classic Sidamo natural smells and I couldn’t shake a very sweet strawberry that took me back to when I was a kid and we lusted after Nesquik’s strawberry milk powder! I brewed my little sample bag up using my usual 1:15 Gino dripper ratio. In the cup I got floral, milk chocolate and mixed berries, catching hints of blueberries but mostly strawberries, which has been the trend all year for me.
Right out of the brewer there wasn’t much to find in the cup, but as it cooled it opened up and developed nicely, which is often the case for my palate. The florals stuck around in the flavor, hitting the front and back end of the sip. There is nice fruity acidity in the finish and a medium mouthfeel that leans toward the heavy side. The finish was nice, being neither too sweet or too dry, making this really drinkable and inviting.
This is a sweet cup with lots of berries and a chocolate-cherry flavor that I was surprised to find as it cooled down. That flavor reminded me of a Hungarian Christmas chocolate candy my nagymama and nagypapa used to have for us. I haven’t thought about that in 20 years, but here it was!
Ethiopian naturals have not done much for me this year, but this one is firing on all cylinders for me. I still love a good ol’ blueberry bomb from Ethiopia, which have been hard to find, but in a year of thin, mostly-strawberry coffees this one from Holy Schmidt has depth and complexity that I simply loved. I used the rest of my sample about a month off-roast and it was still really tasty, so this is a coffee that holds up to some age, too. Grab a bag for the holidays and you won’t be disappointed.