After being impressed by one of Theodore’s Coffee Roaster’s selections that came in a sampler from Crema.co a while back, I reached out to the good folks in Owosso, Michigan and they sent me a bunch of samples of their current offerings! Today I’m looking at a special natural Ethiopian coffee that turned out to be an absolutely amazing cup!
Purchase this coffee directly for $21/12oz (free shipping over $25!)
THEODORE’S COFFEE ROASTERS ETHIOPIA KENEON CHIRE
Theodore’s Coffee Roasters has a cool backstory that can’t be passed up… Theodore’s was started in 2014 by Darwin Pavon. Darwin was born in Honduras and was lucky enough to find himself one of the original boys in a program called the Micah Project. The Micah Project teaches young men and boys in poverty in Tegucigalpa, Honduras leadership and life skills. This led to Darwin becoming involved in a fertilizer development project where he was collecting soil samples and, my guess is that led to the world of coffee. Fast forward to 2014 and he started a coffee roastery and tasting room in Owosso, Michigan, about midway between Flint and Lansing.
Today’s coffee is also special (all of them are!). Keneon Chire is a grade 1 natural Ethiopian coffee from the Sidama Zone. The mill is owned by Assefa Dukama, who owns a couple other mills, but this one is extra special because he named it after his son, Keneon. About 2500 smallholders growing around 1600-1800masl bring their coffee cherry to the Keneon Chire mill for processing. This particular coffee is sorted by hand and then put into float tanks as an extra step in quality control. “Floaters” get removed and then the coffee is laid out on raised mesh beds where the tedious job of turning and mixing the coffee cherries happens over the next 12-16 days. I feel like it has been a long time since I had a natural Ethiopian coffee in my cup, so I’m really excited to try this one out!
I used my standard 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper with Kalita 185 filters. My Handground grinder was set on 3.5 and I used Third Wave Water in my preparation of my samples of this coffee. This is a pretty dense bean, so it may have a tendency to slow down your brewing time. Pour aggressively to get some agitation in the coffee bed and that should help things keep moving along while you brew!
After having a head cold/upper respiratory thing for the better part of 10 days now, I am finally almost back to normal with my nose and my ability to perceive flavor. It’s times like this that I’m reminded how little flavor really comes from taste buds in the mouth! Anyway, I was getting a lot of berries in the brew aroma, which promised good things in the cup. As expected, this is a killer natural Ethiopian coffee! There is a nice amount of florals and fruits in the cup aroma and it has a good, medium to medium-heavy body. As the cup cooled it took on a creamy, almost milk-like body and mouthfeel. Up front, I get sweet and slightly tart strawberry and raspberry notes that are fresh and delicious, and there is a hint of lime acidity keeping the flavors elevated and almost effervescent.
A little agitation in the mouth and a puffing your breath out your nose (retronasal breathing) will stir up a lot of florals in the sip, too. I was getting plenty of blackberry notes from this coffee with that technique, too. This is a sweet, fresh cup with very little fermentation, in my opinion. You can taste the care that the folks at Keneon Chire mill put into this coffee as well as the great precision exercised by Theodore’s in roasting it just right. The coffee finishes sweet with just a hint of tea-like mouthfeel that often comes with Ethiopian coffees. I was getting some cocoa notes in the aftertaste and almost a milk chocolate finish.
This is an absolutely stunner of a coffee. I love everything about this coffee and the care and attention it has received from the producer and roaster is testament to how special it is. Get it!!!