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Ethiopia Yrgacheffe Oromia Fair Trade Coop

April 13, 2005

This will be a combined review, both of us having received samples. For a description of Bob and Jim's evaluation procedure, see our reference page.

The Oromia Coop is fairly new and fairly huge, combining farmers from all the major Ethiopian regions. It's a group of 30 to 40 cooperatives with over 20,000 small farms participating, growing their coffees at over 5000 feet in southwestern Ethiopia. They are permitted to bypass the normal auction market and sell directly to importers, sometimes eliminating long adminstrative hold-ups and consequent degradation of the product. This also means that the coffee quality has been uneven. But some of the mills have very high standards, so there have been a few spectacular coffees have been coming out under this label.

Bob roasted to 420F in 8 minutes with first crack at 398F. Jim roasted to 435F in 10.5 minutes, a City Roast, with the first crack starting at 395F. Jim found that the beans were like Kenyan coffees, getting Full City dark early in the first crack.

Bob's lighter roast: The aroma is Yrg at its best; A familiar Oromia, floral, heady, scent with soaring notes of apricots, lime and coconut. And as I have come to expect from this coop when it is hitting on all cylinders, the cup it is well balanced, gentle and medium to light-bodied, becoming just a bit tannic on cooling, but not objectionably so.

Jim's darker roast: Sometimes, when cupping Yirgacheffes, one is aware of an intense floral experience. Then there's the more subdued but complex Yrgs, like this lot. The aroma does have lots of flower, but also some dark chocolate. In the cup, it's joined by tropical fruits and something creamy, hovering between vanilla and bananas. The citrus comes to the front on cooling, but the cup stays very sweet and the undertone of dark chocolate gets very focused. This is a very clean coffee, almost shimmering as it cools. The body is a buttery medium-light, and the acidity brisk.

As a straight shot, Bob noted that it is a bit on the sour side so if you want to prepare it as an espresso, it is worthwhile to drink it as a cappa or use it to enhance a blend. Jim found the undertones more woody than chocolate in the straight shot, and the cup is quite nippy. But there's lots of sweetness and crema, so this will bring a sweet floral note in blends without adding astringency.

Bobs Score
Dry Fragrance (1-5): 4.6
Wet Aroma (1-5): 4.6
Flavor/Taste/Depth (1-10): 8.0
Finish/Aftertaste (1-10): 7.0
Brightness/Acidity (1-10): 8.8
Body/Movement/Mouth-Feel (1-10): 6.5
Cupper's Correction: (+/- 5):+1.0

TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 90.5

Jim's Score
Aroma: 8.5
Flavor: 9.0
Finish: 9.5
Acidity: 8.5
Body: 6.0

TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 91.5

  • Lighter Roasts: Very balanced, floral sweet cup.
  • Darker Roasts: Don't: The milk chocolate will diminish and harsher, tannic notes will come to the fore.
  • As Espresso: Not balanced for SO straight shots. Cappas work with a lighter roast. Also good with 10% to 20% top end blender at lighter roast levels.


UPDATED: June 27, 2005