Good morning, dear readers! This morning I am excited to bring to you the return of Peaks Coffee Co. It has been about a year since we last saw coffee from Peaks and this young company (starting in the winter of 2014 in Cazenovia, New York) is still sourcing and roasting fine coffees for the good people of upstate New York!
PEAKS COFFEE CO. ETHIOPIA ARDI
Peaks sourced this coffee from the good folks of Keffa Coffee, who specialize in Ethiopian coffees. This one is from the Sidama region of Ethiopia (we’ve had a lot of those lately!) and this is a mix of heirloom varietals grown in the 1850-1950masl range. This is a natural process coffee so we can expect nice body and lots of fruit in the cup.This coffee is named after “Ardi,” or Ardipithecus, the oldest human-ish skull ever found by archaeologists dating from 4.4 million years ago, found in the harsh desert of Ethiopia. Yum!
The first thing that struck me about this coffee is how not-natural it seems. Not, like, “unnatural,” but it didn’t have that insane burst of berries from the bag that many do, or crazy amounts of fruit in the aroma, either. I’ve been getting my hands on some more restrained Ethiopian naturals of late and this one from Peaks seems along those same lines. Peaks gives us tasting suggestions of, “raspberry, lychee and red wine.” As always, I used my usual 1:16 ratio (28g coffee, 450g water, 3:30 or so total time) in the notNeutral pourover with Kalita 185 filters.
I get a pleasant, soft sweet berries note in the aroma of this coffee along with sugary, caramel sweetness. The flavors in the sip are really nice and, again, a little restrained compared to a big, bold Ethiopian natural. There is nice, body, on the full side of medium, and a lingering aftertaste, so this coffee won’t be confused for a washed Ethiopian or anything that light. The flavors in the cup are really nice. There is a bit of lime acidity and lots of sweetness in the middle. It’s a berry tone, but not strawberry, blueberry or blackberry, and notes similar to raspberry come out in the aftertaste, so I’d have to agree with Peaks’ label on that one!
There is a pretty good hint of black pepper in this cup, too, especially in the second half of the sip and toward the finish, which is pretty neutral and leaves a lingering flavor of black pepper and raspberry on my palate. The last Ethiopian coffee I tasted from a couple days ago was supposed to have quite a bit of black pepper in it and I wasn’t getting it, so I wondered if I even know what black pepper even tastes like in the context of coffee. Yep! And here it is! It adds a nice layer of complexity to what is really a very balanced cup of coffee… a little acidity to liven it up, nice sweet caramel and raspberry notes, and this black pepperiness to keep things interesting. Excellent! One last note… with bigger sips in my quite-cooled down cup, a lot of florals come out, too. This is a really nice coffee, no ferment as far as I can tell (although if you’ve read some of my natural reviews you know I like those flavors in these coffees!) and a nice, clean, subtle but delicious, Ethiopian coffee from my NY pals at Peaks!