Theodore’s Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Assefa Estate

posted in: 2017, reviews | 0

Well, it has happened… I’ve come to the end of the coffees sent by Michigan roaster, Theodore’s Coffee Roasters! This was a varied box of excellent coffees and this last one is an Ethiopian natural that I’ve been impatiently waiting to arrive in my review queue! Let’s dive right in!

Theodore’s Coffee Roasters

Purchase this coffee directly for $20/12oz (and free shipping!)

Other reviews in this series: El Salvador Los Planes, Ethiopia Aleta Wondo, Nepal Lekali Estate


Today’s coffee is somewhat unique by Ethiopian standards because it came from a single estate, whereas most Ethiopian coffees come from many farmers who collect their coffee at a cooperative where it is mixed together, sorted, graded, processed and sold in mixed lots. It’s from Assefa Dukamo’s plantation in the Keffa Zone of SNNPR (Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region) of southwest Ethiopia. Assefa has a 100+ hectare plantation with coffee growing in the 1600-1750masl altitude range. By all accounts, Assefa is a pillar of his community and throughout Ethiopia and we often see the care people bring to other people translate in the care they take in growing and processing their coffee, too!

This is a Q1 natural coffee that is carefully picked and then added to float tanks so “floaters” can be skimmed off from the rest of the lot. From there, the coffee is laid out on raised drying beds for around 12-16 days before removal of the cherry skins and further processing. Natural coffees are a labor-intensive affair, to say the least!

Theodore’s Coffee Roasters gives us flavor notes of, “Berry preserves, vanilla malt, clove” for this coffee. I used my standard pourover method of a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper. Handground grinder was set to 3 and I used Third Wave Water in my preparation.

I’m greeted by a medium to just a little to the light side of medium-bodied coffee. There is a light berry jam note in the front end of the sip with flavors reminding me mostly of raspberry and blackberry, although I got hints of blueberry, too. There is a lemon candy acidity to this cup that is round and sweet as well as bright and adding high notes to the cup. This is mostly a clean cup although there are some hints of ferment if I agitate the coffee in my mouth some. I always like ferment in natural coffees, so that doesn’t bother me a bit! The finish is sweet with vanilla notes readily apparent, something I don’t often actually get from coffee, and there’s a light, pretty short-lived aftertaste with this coffee. The vanilla extends into the aftertaste and is really delicious and warm.

To me, this is a natural Ethiopian coffee with the refinement and subtlety of a washed coffee. It has beautiful, fresh berry flavors and nice acidity for balance, but it’s not a hit-me-over-the-head cup like a lot of naturals can be. This is a really delicious coffee and that vanilla note is killer! A beautiful example and reminder than not all washed Ethiopian coffees have to be single-note berry bombs (although I love those, too!) and that you can find subtlety and restraint in these coffees, too. Theodore’s really knocked it out of the park for me with this recent box of varied and somewhat unusual coffees. One of the reasons I always look forward to their coffees!