I think Two Sparrows Roasting Co. is going to hold the medal for “coffee roasted in the smallest town” for quite some time! These good folks from Texas sent me a few of their coffees to try out and this morning we’re starting out with their current Ethiopian coffee from Ayehu. Let’s check it out!
TWO SPARROWS ROASTING CO. ETHIOPIA AYEHU
Today’s coffee is double-whammy of learning new things for me! Not only did I have to look up where Two Sparrows Roasting Co. is located in Texas, but I also had to check out a map of Ethiopia to figure out the region this coffee is from (which turns out is a new, developing region in the country as far as coffee production). Two Sparrows is located in Round Top, Texas, a town of around 90 people (according to 2010 census data) about halfway between Austin and Houston and about an hour’s drive from each city. I mean, 90 people? Wow! Two Sparrows is Tara Royer Steele, her husband, Rick Steele and Jacob Loyd. Tara and Rick are affiliated with Royers Roundtop Cafe, a famous-for-their-pie destination in this little town, obviously pulling people from far and wide since a town of 90 can only eat so much pie!
Two Sparrows are passionate about ending human trafficking, too. Proceeds from Two Sparrows coffee sales go to organizations like Redeemed Ministries in Austin and Love 146 to help end human trafficking in the state of Texas and beyond. The company was officially founded in July 2016, so they are relatively new to roasting and selling coffee and they have a strong purpose backing them.
Getting to today’s coffee, it’s Two Sparrows’ Ayehu, from the Awi Zone in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia. Amhara is a large agricultural region in the north-central to northwest part of the country and coffee export is relatively new to this area of Ethiopia, so don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of Amhara, either! This coffee was grown in the 1700-1900masl range and this is a natural process coffee, meaning the cherries are picked and sorted and then dried with the fruit still intact, kind of like raisins. The fruits are removed after drying and this tends to impart more fruity flavors to the coffee. This is also a Rainforest Alliance certified coffee and the company that oversees these farms is fostering sustainable growing practices in Amhara.
Two Sparrows gives us flavor notes of, “berry, floral, cocoa, fruity, caramel” for this coffee and upon opening the bag I was greeted with what looked like a pretty solidly “medium” roast, perhaps a little darker, visually, than a lot of naturals I see. Two Sparrows recommends a 1:16 brewing ratio for this coffee, which is super since that’s what I use for every review! I used 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral dripper with Kalita 185 filter. I brewed with Third Wave Water using distilled water as the solvent and my Handground grinder was set to 3.5 for this coffee.
This coffee really opens up as it cools down. It has a medium-heavy body and there are some berry notes in the flavor… I would lean toward blackberry, for sure, with maybe a hint of raspberry. To me, blackberries always have a slightly floral note and I find that in this coffee, too. There is a lot of sweetness in this cup and toward the finish I get more berry but also flashes of baking spices and a cocoa-like aftertaste. The roast level looks darker than it tastes, to me. It does great to develop a lot of sugar in the cup and bring up the chocolatey notes, but there are still berries and florals present in this coffee, so it’s not overdone in the least and I didn’t even really get overtly roasty flavors from it. I would say there is minimal ferment in this cup, too. Ferment is sometimes a turn-off to coffee drinkers and a complaint about natural coffees, however I actually like some fermenty notes in natural coffees, so to each their own! But this one is pretty clean tasting, for sure. Perceived acidity in this cup is pretty low, too. There is some along with the berry sweetness, and if I had to call it I would go with lemon candy, but it’s a complement to the overall sweetness and round, easy flavors of this coffee and not a star player.
I am really impressed by this coffee. It strikes a nice balance between origin character and familiar, warm coffee tones that people love. This is a super easy drinker and I think this will be a crowd pleaser, enough so that it’s the next coffee I’m taking to work to brew on my Bonavita for co-workers! Nice first outing and now I really can’t wait to check out the two Central American coffees Two Sparrows sent!