ETHIOPIA WASHED SIDAMO, GRADE 2 — VIENNA ROAST —
This type of coffee is grown in the Sidamo region south of the capital, Addis Ababa. It is the most southern and most productive province in the country of Ethiopia. The region is well known for having ideal climate conditions for growing coffee, including high altitudes (between 1600 and 1900 meters above sea level), ample rainfall, optimal temperatures and rich soil.
Washed Sidamos are typically high quality with unique flavors like sweet lemon and floral, and an ideal balance between acidity and body. Sometimes this type is compared favorably with coffee from the Yirgacheffe region. These Heirloom varietals of Arabica coffee are harvested October through December.
For Ethiopian coffees, the Grade 2 signifies that the coffee is washed. (This selection from your favorite Coffee of the Month Club is fully washed during the milling process.) The difference between grade 1 and 2 is defined by the number of visible defects in the prep. If a coffee receives a grade 1 classification, it has 0 to 3 defects, which is rare! Grade 2 coffees allow 4 to 12 defects. Typically the quality of washed coffees is more consistent than that of unwashed varieties.
Cup characteristics include savory pleasant aromas of citrus notes with milk chocolate and flowers. You will find it well balanced, boasting a smooth, soft body. The finish is delicately clean, smooth and tea-like. Look for the tastes of tea with lemon, and note the bright citrus acidity.
SULAWESI TORAJA — AMERICAN ROAST —
The history of coffee cultivation in the northern parts of South Sulawesi is a mystery. It is not known how it arrived or when the inhabitants started cultivating it. It is only known that it was harvested before the Colonial Period, hundreds of years ago.
The most famous coffee area in Sulawesi (previously called Celebes) is Toraja, which is the center of the coffee production area, located hear the highest points of the Sesean Mountains. Torajan people are descendants of Indochinese oceanic traders who crossed the sea to settle in the Sulawesi highlands and take up agriculture. A very independent ethnic group, they have maintained their cultural identity, reflected in their language, social manners and religion (called Aluk To Dolo), “The Way of the Ancestors.” They build their well-crafted and finely detailed homes (called Tongkonan) in the shape of their original boats.
Detail and precision is reflected in their coffee, some of the best Arabica in the world is grown on this island. Until the late 1980′s, the entire annual crop amounted to 400 tons of Toraja, and 200 tons of Rantepao. The exclusive original varieties cost about $12 per pound. Since cultivation has increased substantially, the price has gone down, but the exclusivity of the cup quality remains.
Cooperative Petani Kopi Organik Toraja consists of 570 farmers, with small plots known as gardens, averaging 1 hectare each. This coffee is organic by default, and harvested today as it was in the past. These farmers are now a part of the first organic certified coffee cooperative in Sulawesi, and receive a premium for their coffees, improving the livelihood of the farmers and families, socially and economically. The jute coffee bags are marked with the symbol of the sun, or Bariallo.
Arabica varieties of Bourbon, Pacas and Pacamara are grown at 1,400 to 1,900 meters asl, harvested May through October. Washed and sun-dried during milling, you will smell nuances of chocolate and almond as it brews; sweet, spicy, smoky flavors as you enjoy the taste. Note the full, rich body and low acidity.