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Ethiopia Harar MAO (Horse)

May 24, 2005
Jim Schulman

In a way it's a good thing that Harars are so variable; with bags in the same shipment, roasts from the same bag, and even cups from the same roast never tasting quite the same. If they weren't that way, a good Harar would cost a fortune; as it is, a good Harar is always ridiculously underpriced for what it has to offer. This one was roasted to 435F (1st crack at 395F, 2nd usually at 445F), a City Roast, over 11.5 minutes.

There's this thing East African coffees have, and especially Harars. Some call it paint thinner, others nail varnish, yet others wineyness. Too much of it is a bad thing. But when it forms a halo around the fruit aromas, so that the cup is just a little overripe, like an old Riesling or Nebbiolo on the edge, it's perfect. It's what got the goats dancing in the first place; and people who want their coffees so clean that the paint thinner is gone should stick to Centrals.

And the fruit? It couldn't decide whether it was apricots or blueberry; each cup is a little different. In any case, since all this was layered over very clean, and unbelievably sweet tasting chocolate, I didn't much care. If you like a little gaminess and leather in your Harar, this one isn't for you.

Save some for your espresso; I got a few fruit, chocolate, and old wine godshots from it. The shots have an acid nip, but the sweetness balances; for people who dislike any acidity in an espresso, this will still be a good blender at 30% to 50% levels.

Aroma: 9.0
Flavor: 8.5
Finish: 8.5
Acidity: 7.5
Body: 7.0
TOTAL (subtotal + 50) 90.5

  • Lighter Roasts: Fruit and old wine
  • Darker Roasts: Will stay chocolate to very dark roasts without harshness
  • As Espresso: Superb, slightly zingy SO at lighter roasts. Can be used as the star bean in blends at light roasts, or roasted to the preferred acidity level for lower acid straight shots. Good for cappas


UPDATED: June 27, 2005