This morning we have a special coffee from our friends in Oakland Park (Ft. Lauderdale area), Florida at Switchbox Roasters. It’s a natural Ethiopian selection from the highly respected Ninety-Plus growers/exporters and this turned out to be the best natural Ethiopian coffee I’ve tasted all year! Check out the links below!
I received some coffee from Switchbox Roasters last month via the incredibly generous Andy Giambarba and I was really impressed with both bags he sent me. Switchbox reached out to me a couple weeks ago and asked if they could send their newest Ethiopian coffee that they were really proud of and who am I to turn down coffee?? What arrived is their Ethiopia Nekisse, a natural process coffee grown in the 1700-2000masl range in the Sidama area of Ethiopia by producer, Ninety-Plus.
Ninety-Plus Coffee was founded by Joseph Brodsky, who along with his family founded Novo Coffee in Denver (been there, great place and excellent coffee!). With many trips to origin under his belt, Joseph wondered about the idea of creating taste profiles for coffees “on the ground” rather than at the roasting and retail levels. I honestly don’t know how this works, but that was his idea and he created Ninety-Plus around that idea. They’ve been hugely successful, so it must work! Ethiopia was and still remains the cornerstone of the Ninety-Plus business, working closely with producers there to create their flavor profiles, like today’s Nekisse, which they originally named “Nectar from Shakisso.” In 2009 Ninety-Plus bought a farm in Panama where they devote their efforts to producing Gesha, the extremely sought after and expensive varietal that wins competition after competition.
People look for Ninety-Plus selections from roasters because they are that good! The price is a bit higher, but it’s OK to splurge on coffee once in a while, isn’t it? Regarding Nekisse, Ninety-Plus say that the coffee is defined by a “creamy mouthfeel and heavy berry jam flavor, but layers of citrus and many tropical fruits can be present in some selections.”
I used my standard 1:16 brewing ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water for this coffee in a notNeutral Gino pourover with Kalita 185 filters. In my first cup I got lots and lots of peach and apricot notes as well as some really sweet pink grapefruit flavors that were just as crisp and clear as day! This morning I got more florals out of the aroma and in the finish of the cup. The “layers of citrus” mentioned in Ninety-Plus’s description above are very apparent, too. Some of that pink grapefruit note is still there, but I’m getting lots of orange juice in the cup today, too. There is still some peach in the second half of the sip and into the aftertaste, and I’m also picking up pineapple throughout. The citrus acidity is a little tart, which leans into that pineapple descriptor well, and the clarity and structure of all the flavors is just outstanding in this coffee. The late aftertaste is tropical fruit while I was getting some buttery notes in the earlier aftertaste right after the sip is finished. There’s very little berry and fermenty flavors like what we would usually associate with a natural Ethiopian coffee.
I’m super lucky… I get to drink a TON of really, really good coffee from so many awesome roasters. Even when the bar is set super-high as it is in my situation, occasionally I’ll have a cup that makes me say, “Wow!” and makes it over that already high bar, and this Nekisse is definitely one of those. I’m absolutely in love with this coffee and Switchbox Roasters have hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 9th to win the World Series with how they’ve roasted this selection! I know $24 is a little steep for a bag of coffee for most people. Quite honestly, I think there are so many incredibly good $15-$18 bags out there that the extra expense is rarely justified, but in this case, it is and then some. If it’s in your means to buy this Nekisse from Switchbox and you like citrusy, tropical coffees, you will be very pleased with this one!
Here’s an older Ninety-Plus video, but check out their website “understory” and see some updated, absolutely beautiful videos!