Another recent arrival from the small town of Coatesville, IN, my pals at S&W Craft Roasting have sent a natural Ethiopian with promises of raspberry bombs! Let’s start the post-Monday holiday off right and check out this coffee!
S&W CRAFT ROASTING ETHIOPIA YIRGACHEFFE Gr. 1 NATURAL GEDEB
I’m always a fan of a berry-forward natural Ethiopian coffee, so when Nick from S&W told me he had a raspberry bomb of a coffee on the way to me, I was all ears! S&W Craft Roasting are a real gem in specialty coffee. They offer a ton of value in their roasted coffees, most of which come in around the $13-$15 mark for a full pound bag. They do a great job with roasting and sourcing. Yes, their website and packaging are no-frills affairs, but the reality is that you, as the consumer, pays for every fancy packaging and infrastructure decision that a roaster makes. So, no-frills means more coffee bang for your buck and there is definitely something to be said about that!
This morning’s coffee is a grade 1 natural selection from the smallholder farms around the Kokanna mill near Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia. As is usually the case in Ethiopia, the farms are tiny and so farmers work in co-ops, pool their coffee at the society’s mill, and then everything is mixed up, sorted and sold as lots on the Exchange from there. As such, we have a mix of heirloom varietals (there are thousands of varieties of coffee to be found in Ethiopia!) grown in the 1800-2000masl range. Nine grades of coffee are used in Ethiopia, with 1-2 being “specialty.” Natural coffees are dried with the cherry intact on raised beds, like raisins. They pull fruity characteristics from the fermentation process going on inside the fruit… more sweetness and body, too!
This is a really, really nice natural coffee! This coffee got better and better the cooler it got, so be sure to let it breathe a little! Right out of the gate there were hints of fruit as well as a bit of roastiness. S&W do a great job of developing the roast enough to caramelize a lot of the sugars but not overdo it, so a lot of origin character is still left behind in the cup. As the coffee cooled, the raspberry emerged. I found a little ferment in there with it, which I always really like, and a bit of lemony acidity to offer balance and brighten the coffee. Overall this is a sweet and berry-forward cup. As it cools further it takes on some chocolatey notes and the aftertaste is like a dark chocolate and raspberry chocolate bar. It’s really lovely!
Not to detract from some of the other natural Yirgs I’ve had of late, but they’ve been quite light and almost more in common with washed Yirgacheffes than naturals. I like both, but when I get my hands on a natural Ethiopian coffee the boxes I’m looking for berry sweetness more than anything and this one has it. Another fantastic offering from S&W Craft Roasting!