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Ethiopia Sidamo, Oromia DP

November 29, 2005
Jim Schulman

Sidamo is the region where the famous Yrgacheffe coffee is grown. The coffees grown high up are called Yrgacheffe, the lower grown ones, Sidamo. Sidamos are sold both dry and wet processed; whereas I thought Yrgacheffes were always wet processed (I was wrong; a DP Yrgacheffe was among the winners of the recent Ethiopian E-Cafe competition). Oromia is a Fair Trade certified coop with very high processing standards that produce mostly clean cupping coffees, and many of their offerings have been spectacular. I roasted this Sidamo to 430F, a light/medium City Roast over 11 minutes.

When I blind cupped this coffee, I was uncertain about its origin. The heavy body and slightly foresty taste spoke of Sumatra; but the taste was more delicate than any Sumatra's and the floral aromas far more pronounced. With 20/20 hindsight, the taste makes sense; this is a very, very dry processed Sidamo, almost syrupy heavy body, subdued taste, a potent musky floral note, and extremely sweet.

If you always liked the smell of Yrgacheffe, but found the brightness, dryness and green tea tannins too much, you will love this coffee. Think of it as the low acid version of Yrgacheffe. As usual for Oromias, the prep is clean, and there are no traces of fermentation in the cup except the slight perfumy, musk note in the floral aroma.

What stops this coffee from being great, as opposed to just very good, is that the taste is too far too subdued for it to have star quality. It is lovely on its own, but will work even better as a blender for light, bright, powerful tasting coffees, where it will add sweetness, body, and aroma. I particularly suggest mating it with the Yrgacheffee if you like more subdued cups, or using it in espresso in place of Brazil to get a floral aroma.

Dry fragrance: 4.0
Wet Aroma: 4.5
Flavor: 7.5
Finish: 6.5
Acidity: 6.0
Body: 8.5
TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 88.0

  • Lighter Roasts: Floral, low acid, sweet, subdued taste
  • Darker Roasts: Don't. The florality and sweetness will be gone, and nothing else will develop
  • As Espresso: Floral aroma, sweet, neutral taste; a great base for straight espresso. Not recommended for milk drinks, since there's no roast taste.


UPDATED: June 27, 2005