We got hit with very cold temperatures and snow here in Kansas City and so it was a perfect opportunity to snuggle in and grab some coffee from Miami, Florida! This morning I’m taking a look at a natural Ethiopian selection from my friends at Palmar Coffee. I’ve loved their other two coffees and I’m excited to see how this Ardi is!
PALMAR COFFEE ETHIOPIA ARDI
I would be remiss if I didn’t start any article about Palmar Coffee with a mention of their packaging and aesthetic. I love it! Like it or not, when you’re brewing coffee at home, the experience starts with your eyes and the packaging the coffee comes in and Palmar’s aesthetic is one of my favorites. I’m a fan of 8oz bags because you go through them more quickly and since there’s less coffee, they are also less expensive. I’d rather pick up two bags of coffee for the same price as one, so I can try more! I absolutely love their soft, pastel-like label colors, the country of origin in big white letters like a background and the coffee shrub superimposed. The layout is clean, I love the color palette and it’s just a nice example of simple, informative and damn good-looking design!
I’m excited for Palmar Coffee, too, because I just learned from them after my last review that they have been contract roasting up to this point and will be embarking on their own roasting soon! That’s super exciting! This is a really good way to get started out in coffee, actually. Roasting equipment, the space to house it, ventilation, inspections, gas, power, storage, packaging, etc are all really expensive and a big investment. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of learning how to use it and having the time to roast every day or two. With a bazillion excellent coffee roasters in this country, why deal with that if you can contract the roasting and packaging out to a roaster who is already set up for it? The craft beer industry has been doing this forever and it makes sense. This has allowed the folks at Palmar to concentrate on getting accounts as well as sourcing their coffee and profiling it with the roaster, both important skills in their own right. I’m guessing the next shipment of Palmar Coffee I receive will be out of their own roasting equipment!
Today’s coffee is a natural Ethiopian coffee called Ardi from the Sidama region of the country. The farmers who contributed to this lot grow heirloom varieties at around 1950masl. Palmar worked with Samuel Demisee of Keffa Coffee, who has a direct relationship with a washing station and cooperative in Kilenso Mokonisa to provide this coffee. Samuel named it Ardi after the oldest human skeleton ever found, Ardipithecus ramidus, found in the badlands of Ethiopia in 1994. Ardi was about 4.4 million years old at the time, but this coffee is a lot fresher! Natural coffees are picked and sorted by hand (Keffa’s Ardi is a “grade 1” selection) and then dried with the cherry intact, like a raisin, basically. This should impart fruity flavors and extra body to the cup. As always, I used my standard 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper with Kalita 185 white filters and a Handground grinder on 3.5.
Palmar Coffee gives us flavor notes of “blueberry, juicy” for this cup. I have to say, over the past 2-3 years I’ve gotten less and less blueberry from Ethiopian naturals than I did before this. I know the blueberry bombs are a lot more rare these days, but even when I get lots of berry notes, they tend to be blackberry, strawberry and even raspberry more so than blueberry. This cup has some really nice berry flavors with a bit of blueberry and more raspberry and blackberry, for me. There is a hint of floral to the aroma and flavor and I associate that with blackberry, which when ripe have this soft, sweet flowery overtone that I just love. In any case, this is a sweet, fruity and floral cup with relatively low acidity for me. There is a touch of lemon in the background and aftertaste and the coffee does hit my cheeks a little with “acidity” but it’s there to complement the fruits and sweetness rather than being a primary player in the flavor of this coffee, for me. The acidity adds some brightness and some dynamics to the cup but I would call this a low-perceived acidity cup, for the most part.
For a natural coffee this is a pretty clean cup. There is a bit of ferment in the finish and aftertaste, and I actually like ferment notes in coffee, so I appreciate it. It adds some complexity and it’s just a flavor I enjoy, generally. As the cup cools the florals become even more apparent and this is a just a sweet, super easy drinker! In warmer temperatures this cup was a little flat for me, so let it cool down some and you’ll be rewarded by a really delicious, sweet coffee that’s a shining example of what a good Sidama natural can taste like. Yum! That’s three for three, Palmar! Well done as always!