Ethiopia Sidamo Bensa Shanteweni G1 Natural
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Sidamo stands out as the first gateway we enter to the coffee dreamland of Ethiopia. Before the administrative regrouping of the old Ethiopian provinces along ethnolinguistic lines, Sidamo encompasses today's Guji and Yirgacheffe regions. In a way, all the beautiful coffees in our collective memories come from Sidamo. In June 2020, the region officially adopted the new name of Sidama, which is named after the eponymous indigenous tribe.
Sidama coffee, like all coffees in Ethiopia, is called heirloom as a form of respect to its status being the venerable earliest form of arabica coffee. In fact, it is more correctly referred to as local landraces, which are wild forms undergoing domestication and yet to stabilise into a cultivar. This means the genes are diverse and their distribution is sporadic, giving rise to a spectrum of flavour profiles from area to area, farm to farm and even within the farm. It was estimated that there are 10,000 to 15,000 heirloom varieties. The Jimma Agricultural Research Centre (JARC) has also thrown into the mix their developed varieties, which are freely planted alongside the heirlooms in most farms, further widening opportunities for natural crosses and mutation. Ethiopia coffee forests and farmlands are like a natural genetic bank of arabica coffee. It is then no surprise that we are treated with a galore of complex enzymatic fruity and floral flavours.
Sidama enjoys the usual deep volcanic soils and high elevations. Our coffee is from Bensa woreda (district) Shanteweni washing station. It is situated at around 1,900 m, with farmers bringing coffees to it from neighbouring small farms of around 5 ha. The cultivation method remains traditional without the excess of modern fertilizers and pesticides, making it a conventional organic coffee. Processing is likewise very traditional - always on African raised beds, promoting faster and more even drying, and preserves the intrinsic sweet and floral notes of the coffee. Our coffee is from Ardent Coffee Export.
Sidama is best enjoyed for its good body and berry notes. Washed Sidama is preferred to highlight the characteristic fruitiness. Our coffee is done in the natural process, where the cherries dry under direct sunlight for 2 to 3 weeks. This allows us to showcase the good body that accompanies the natural process against the backdrop of its fruitiness.
We have chosen to roast this coffee medium light towards light to highlight its many fruity characteristics, but long enough to reduce the acidity in its aftertaste such that it is an accommodating coffee from start to end.
On the Timemore B75 using Kalita 155 paper at grind size 800 µm, we got a cup that starts with spices like cinnamon and slowly changing to a perfumy experience of rose and hibiscus. Flavour is blueberries and toffee on a rich body. We felt that the sweet juicy acidity shines through the more it cools, bringing up notes of pomegranates and raspberries. Aftertaste is medium and balanced. This is our recipe, brewed at 90°C using our own water recipe:
15.5g for 250ml
0-15 sec: Pour 50g water
45-75 sec: Add 150g
100-115 sec: Add 50g