I was pretty happy with the Burundi Mpanga I reviewed last week from Laveggio Roasteria, so I was hoping that would extend to their natural Ethiopia Amaro Gayo, too, which is the subject of this review. Laveggio Roasteria is a coffee shop and roastery located in Binghamton, NY.
This coffee comes from the Sidamo region of Ethiopia and it is milled and exported by Asnakech Thomas, the only woman doing this kind of work in Ethiopia. The Amaro farm grows all of its coffee organically and as most naturals are processed in Ethiopia, this one gets dried on raised net beds to allow for even drying and aeration. 1 This coffee is grown around 1100masl and it is comprised of heirloom varietals.
It was clear looking at these beans that this was going to be a darker roasted approach to an Ethiopian natural. Roasting naturals more darkly tends to tone down the fruit in the cup and emphasize the dark chocolate notes and body of the coffee, but sometimes it can make for a flat or boring coffee, too. Or a roast bomb, for that matter. The aromas coming off this coffee are dark… plums, some roast, toasted sugar and milk chocolate. Very inviting to say the least!
The mouthfeel on this coffee is medium with a long blackberry aftertaste. There is definitely roast in the flavor and it lends a bit of bitterness to the cup, but as it cooled both the roastiness and its bitterness seemed to mellow out a bit. This coffee has a plummy sweetness, which also picked up as the coffee cooled. There were notes of single origin dark chocolate in the flavor and this is definitely a coffee that is carried by the low notes. Don’t expect much acidity in this coffee, although there is balance and it’s an easy drinker.
I tend to like naturals that get as much fruit flavor into them as possible, but for a more darkly roasted natural Ethiopian this one wasn’t bad. The reality of naturals from Ethiopia this year, for me, is that they have been pretty underwhelming compared to last year, so I don’t mind this approach for this coffee, really. It’s pleasant to drink and the roast level is controlled, yet apparent in the flavors. I think it could be dialed back just a smidge, but really I enjoyed Laveggio’s take on this coffee and I think the darker fruit tones were a nice change of pace from the strawberries I’ve been getting in Ethiopian naturals all year.