Presta Coffee Roasters sent me some nice samples to review this month, and today’s review is of their Derar Ela, a natural/dry process Ethiopian coffee. You can’t buy this coffee just yet, but Presta is opening a shop in Tucson as well as opening up a website where you can buy their coffee, both of which are slated for the end of April! Good luck to them and keep your eyes peeled!
Derar Ela coffee comes from the Guji Zone, an area of the large Oromia state of Ethiopia. Lots of coffee comes from this area and Ethiopian naturals (coffees that are dried in the cherry and pick up lots of fruit flavors from it) are the favorites of many coffee aficionados, for good reason! As one would expect, there were sugary, berry jam-like aromas pouring off this coffee after brewing. In the immediately brewed cup the predominant flavor was blueberries, a common descriptor for Ethiopian natural coffees (and, ironically, not something Ethiopian farmers understand as a descriptor since they don’t have blueberries there!).
At a better drinking temperature, Presta’s Derar Ela opened up nicely. I found a sweet, but not too-sweet, strawberries and cream flavor predominating with a blueberry finish that had a bit of a bitter kick to it. Sometimes naturals can be really in-your-face and I found this one had toned down sugariness and ferment flavors, which I liked. There was a bit of lemon character to the acidity in the coffee, too, which balanced well with the sweetness of the cup… like a cup of sweet berries with a squeeze of lemon on them! I got a message from Presta and they thought maybe the coffee was a little too long off-roast, which sometimes reduces the brightness of all those fruit flavors in the cup. So, this coffee may be different when fresh, but I couldn’t find out when it was roasted to know if maybe it did have some age on it. Again, all that being said, I liked the coffee just fine, so whatever the cause, I didn’t mind in the least!