Last week I reviewed one of two African coffees sent to me out of the blue by my pals at Perc Coffee. It was their Kenyan Tambaya AA and it was pretty amazing. I’ve generally be really into washed Ethiopian coffees this year (where, last year, it was all about the naturals for me), so without further ado, let’s check out Perc’s Gera!
This coffee comes from Western Ethiopia, in the Oromia Region of which Jimma is the largest city. It’s a 7.5 hour drive (maybe… according to Google Maps! LOL) from Yirgacheffe, the better known and more-traveled coffee-growing part of Ethiopia. If you want to read more about Western Ethiopia, check out the Lonely Planet’s collection of information. In Western Ethiopia, you’ll find two “names” attached to coffee, “limu” meaning washed coffee and “djimmah” (and these words can be spelled a variety of ways) meaning natural coffees. So, you’ll often see “Limu Gera,” for example, which is a washed coffee from the area near Gera.
Now that the geography is out of the way, this coffee is a mix of heirloom varietals as you’ll usually find in Ethiopia that grow in the 1850-1900masl range. Perc recommends a 16:1 Kalita with a 3.5 minute time for brewing this coffee, which is close to my normal parameters on my Gino dripper (same three-hole design as the Kalita Wave and it uses the same filters). Their flavor notes include, “meyer lemon, red grape skin, plum, honeysuckle, jasmine, and a clean, winey finish – hot damn!” You can buy this coffee directly from Perc in 12oz bags for $15 and use the code, “PERCFREESHIP” through the month of December to pick up free shipping! And do yourself a favor, add a bag of the Tambaya AA to your order. Trust me.
This was a nice, gentle coffee to drink. There were definitely plummy flavors to be found here, and the acidity had a bit of lemon flavor but in terms of mouthfeel it “felt” more malic to me, hitting my palate different from how a true citric acidity seems to. The acidity was not the frontrunner in this coffee, though, but rather there to add balance and give the coffee a bit of a lift. Overall I’d say this coffee had a mouthfeel that was on the heavy side of light or on the light side of medium and a pretty short aftertaste with a sweet finish. There was something sort of spicy or perfume-like in the aftertaste that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but it reminded me of some of the complexity of wine in that way. I drank this all the way down to being stone cold and it was delicious throughout with a little hint of cinnamon once it was to room temperature. The whole time I drank this coffee I just kept thinking how “soft” and “easy” and “gentle” the flavors were. Whereas the washed Yirgachefe’s I’ve had all year have been full of intense florals and lots of sweetness, this coffee is more subdued and subtle, but no less enjoyable. It’s wonderful to see the range of coffees that come out of the different regions of Ethiopia and, as always, Perc did a superlative job on this one!