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Berries and fruit lead the flavor profile for this Ethiopian natural process. Strawberry, dried blueberries, even some raspberry, w/ some hints of lavender. We found an oh-so-subtle chocolate note at the end as well. It felt like a cousin of our Guatemalan Blue Ayarza in some ways. It’s a very full flavored coffee, solid and vibrant.
The location of where these beans come from has some mild debate in the uptight, snooty world of single origin coffees. While Bule Hora, and Gelana Abaya, where the beans are grown and then processed, respectively, are not technically right in Yirgacheffe, the towns are so close in proximity and employ the Yirgacheffe methods are used, that it is ruled to have a Yirgacheffe profile by the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange, and is therefore considered a Yirgacheffe coffee. Whatever it is, it’s a fantastic coffee that we all loved.
After being picked at elevations ranging from elevations of 5,100-5,700 feet, the beans are dried on raised beds for 18-21 days. During the hottest and sunniest time of the day they are raked frequently, and then covered to protect them from the sun, then uncovered for several hours to help the drying process, but then covered overnight to protect them from moisture (coffee beans are pretty high maintenance, eh?).
Our first natural process from Guatemala, it has lower acidity than the Ethiopian naturals, while still having a fruity profile. Blackberry, mango are the first flavors we picked up, with guava, red currant following and just the most subtlest of chocolate coming through as the cup cooled. It feels like an Ethiopian natural without the acidity or strong citrus profile.
These beans come from the southeastern part of Guatemala, in a very rural, inaccessible, mountainous area above Laguna de Ayarza (locally known as “Blue Lake”), where there are less than 10 homes in total around its perimeter. Cold, deep and pristine, the lake is said to be formed by two massive volcanoes that collapsed into a large crater, parts of the bottom having never been found. The beloved lake is part of legendary folklore for the locals. Because natural process coffee beans have more rigorous requirements, only those grown in the 5,500-6,000 elevation are selected.
Due to the hilly conditions where the beans are grown, the natural process beans are transported to a neighboring region where there is flatter land available for drying them in the sun, with sufficient breezes to blow over them. Laid out in layers of 3-4″ deep, they are dried for 5-6 days while being constantly turned during the day. The cherries go from red or yellow to purple, and then black. They are then finished for a half a day in mechanical dryers, this final process helping to control the acidity and ensure a final dry process without any pesky rain showers that may cause re-absorption of rainwater.