How It Tastes
Memorably, fragrantly fruity, with a whiff of white flower, a concentrated dose of dried blueberry, and a shot of candied citron. Sweet and full.
We were fortunate to be the first to import this extraordinary quality of natural Ethiopia in 2005. Natural just means sun-dried, the typical two seeds inside a coffee cherry absorbing the darkening, sweetening flavors of the fruit as it dries. But this coffee tasted so otherworldly good, we dubbed it a super natural. Before this coffee, it was not typical to attempt this natural method with the finest, most select fruit, freshly harvested from Ethiopia’s most heralded region, Yirgacheffe.
Today, the natural process and its variants (like “honey process”) are in vogue, with farmers deploying “African Bed”-drying from El Salvador to East Timor. Ethiopia, however, still boasts the best. This year, our very favorite lots came not from Yirgacheffe proper, but Hambela in the nearby Guji zone. After all, the key to a great natural coffee—or, for that matter, a washed coffee—is the quality of the fruit one begins with. Under the skilled management of the Adinew family, the coffee from Hambela Farm is grown as high as 7,200 feet and has been consistently spectacular over the last several crop years.