2016 will mark our most serious year working in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia tends to be our most popular Origin we source from. Customers and Baristas gravitate to it, I believe because of it's easy to identify flavors. The coffees of Ethiopia are totally unique to Ethiopia, no other origin could be confused with it in terms of flavors. Typically flavors lean to the fruity and floral side of the coffee descriptions.
Over the last six years we have been purchasing through two very large Cooperatives which represent thousands of small holder farmers. All our coffees are Certified Organic and Fair Trade. These Cooperatives represent smaller cooperatives who use the umbrella Cooperative to act as a Dry Mill, and Exporter and offer Agronomy and Technical Support to the Farmers. In Ethiopia these Cooperatives are Called Unions. As opposed to "Privates" the Unions are all Farmer Owned and Operated. So long story short, we work with Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (SCFCU) and Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (YCFCU). You will see these acronyms used when we write and speak about our Ethiopian Coffees.
Banko Natural - Ethiopia
It's easy to say that the most anticipated coffee for us at Olympia Coffee is Banko Natural Ethiopia. It's also easy for me to understand why. It's a great if not the best Natural Process Coffee out there, and for many a Natural Process Coffee is the first love of specialty coffee. For me and most others the "ah ha" moment in coffee came with the first sip of a delicious Natural Process Coffee crossed ones lips. Hit with sweetness, that you maybe have never tasted coffee before, and easy to taste fruit flavors. For the first time you might be able to taste what it the description on the bag says.
The picture above hopefully will help illustrate what a "Natural Process" is. Simply put it's coffee cherries laid out to dry. After a good month or so of drying in the sun every day, hand turned about every hour, the coffee cherry is sufficiantly dry and ready for the dried fruit to be milled off the bean.
One of the most powerful memories for me this year is sharing some brewed Banko with cooperative. I brought them a bag roasted by us at Olympia Coffee. Sitting there with a few bars of Theo I shared we had our producer meeting sharing our goals, hurdles together. Over coffee, chocolate, and toasted barley we made our plan for the next year and agreed to buy all their coffee this year.