Being KC Coffee Geek, it’s always a welcome treat to be able to review a coffee from right here in Kansas City! This morning I’m checking out Messenger Coffee Co.’s Hafursa, a natural Ethiopian coffee. Let’s drink!
MESSENGER COFFEE CO. ETHIOPIA NATURAL HAFURSA
Kansas City has a coffee scene that rivals Portland’s and exceeds that of many much, much bigger cities. We’re exceptionally fortunate to have this amazing coffee culture right here in the middle of the country and it’s part of a larger renaissance of food and beverage that KC is well known for (and we have more than BBQ!). Right now, at the center stage of the city’s coffee culture is Messenger Coffee Co. I’ve been aware of Messenger for 3-4 years now and I’m not sure where their special powers come from, but they just opened an insane destination roastery/cafe/bakery in the Crossroads arts district between Midtown and Downtown KC and it’s three stories of complete coffee and bread worship and it’s glorious! Messenger is part of the Ibis bakery and Black Dog cafe family. A couple years ago they made a big move and bought the Filling Station, a small local cafe operation that had 3-4 locations. If you make it to KC or you’re local, you owe it to visit the Crossroads location and check out all three floors, including the roof deck complete with outdoor fireplaces! It’s total insanity in all the best ways. And let’s not even talk about the bread and pastries.
But, this review is about coffee, not the location, so trust me on that one and visit and you won’t be disappointed. In the meantime, let’s check out Messenger’s current natural Ethiopian offering. This morning’s coffee is their Hafursa, a natural from Yirgacheffe. Coffee grows around 1900-2300masl in that area and, as usual, this is a lot made up of heirloom varieties that are pooled together form smallholder farmers who belong to a co-op, Hafursa Cooperative, in this case. This co-op started in 1975 and has grown to about 955 members today. This particular lot is a “natural” or dry process coffee, meaning that the coffee cherries are sorted by hand, dried with the cherry totally intact like big raisins, and then further processed into the coffee beans that ship to roasters like Messenger. Natural processing tends to impart a lot of fruit flavors to the coffee beans inside the fruit, which act like little sponges. Messenger offers tasting notes of, “peach, passionfruit, blueberry” for this coffee. I used my standard pourover setup for this coffee of a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper with Third Wave Water and a Handground grinder set to 3.
The aroma on this coffee has some nice tropical-smelling fruits and hints of berries, just as I’d expect from a natural Ethiopian. In the sip I get a lot of fruitiness going on. There is definitely peach and apricot in the front end of the sip that comes back again for the finish and aftertaste. Enveloping this peach/apricot note is something else that reads more “tropical” to me. Passionfruit may be accurate, but I’m not sure because I’ve never actually tasted it outside of it being in tea or in a baked good as a flavoring. This tropical note isn’t pineapple, but it’s not totally removed from that, either. There’s definitely a lot of tropical fruit notes in this cup, my palate just really rusty on my tropical fruit palette right now! There is quite a bit of high end in this cup from the tropical fruitiness and the bit of apricot-like tartness in the cup. Some lemon candy in the acidity, too. This is a bright example of a natural Ethioipian, for sure. In the finish and aftertaste I’m getting some buttery notes, which I haven’t tasted in coffee in forever, but here it is!
I really enjoyed this coffee. It’s sweet and balanced to a point, but it really highlights the fruity acidity that can happen in natural process coffees and, as such, it’s less sugary and candy-like than some Ethiopian naturals can taste. There’s quite a bit of complexity to the cup, but it’s well-structured and all the flavors have a lot of definition to them. This does cut down on the drinkability a little for me, but that’s a small price to pay for a really complex, expertly crafted natural like this. Yum!