About Ethiopia Hachira N2 Natural - Ninety Plus
New crop arrived mid-September in grainpro in vacuum boxes. This coffee is from Ninety-Plus, a US company that has been working for some years in Ethiopia to develop coffees of real distinction. Their emphasis is on coffee cherry processing, which is what they attribute to be the most important element toward producing great coffee. They have made an art out of working on the processing side and they consider themselves 'coffee makers' rather than producers. Of course, they need to begin with highly selected cherries, but from there they separate coffees based on the desired cup profile and alter their processing techniques to achieve their aims. This places less emphasis on varietal, microclimate and farm management and puts the focus more squarely on how to get these nice coffee cherries to taste very special. We have offered a number of their coffees in past years, both from Ethiopia and Panama, and after having cupped our way through this year's initial offerings, have selected their Hachira N2. Aficionados of natural process coffees will certainly want to try it.
This particular lot is a mixture of Heirloom Arabica beans that are grown in the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia which sits at an altitude of about 6560 feet above sea level. Ninety-Plus works with and sells mainly "natural processed" coffee categorized by degrees of fruit-drying influence on flavor. The Hachira is a category N2 which in their terms means "coffees with high fruit drying influence on flavor" so you can be sure that these beans are full of sweetness and fruity notes. Sundried coffee harvesting is done mostly by the farming families where cherries are dried on mats that sit on raised drying beds and dried to roughly 11.5% moisture. This is very cleanly prepared dry processed coffee with a minimum of quakers which are often more frequently found in naturals. The result is an even roast.
Arrived packed in grainpro packaging within boxes so the coffee is free free from taints and has been protected from the elements.
Yirgacheffe Gedeo Zone information
Coffee produced: once a year
Harvesting: September - December
Climate: Light rain Jan - Feb; heavy rains Jun - Sep
Production system: Garden
Soil Type: 50% volcanic, 25% sedimentary, 25% other
Cultivar: Heirloom Typica
Height of the tree: 6 to12 feet
Growing Altitude: 1700 -2000 meters
Coverage: 30,000 hectares
Hachira coffee was inspired by Aricha, another coffee developed during the early days of the Ninety Plus organization with the assistance of Yirgacheffe coffee guru S.A. Bagersh. Ninety Plus describes the coffee's character as juicy and floral, commonly with concentrated elderberry to blackberry fruit, sometimes with basil-like herbal tones.
Cup Characteristics: We found cherry vanilla and flavors of chocolate with orange. The brew is unctuous and silky. Smooth with pronounced orange, tangerine which kept improving as it cooled. Other cuppers noted lychee sweetness and flavor, persimmon, star anise. Tart, nutty and followed by big, long finish. Very clean. Overall, a very big fruity flavor profile that is not overpowering but rather balanced.
Roasting Notes: We stopped this roast about a minute past first crack and it seemed ideal. Second crack had not yet started. On a Behmor a P2 or P3 would work well.
Ethiopia coffee facts:
Population (2206): 75 Million People
Domestic Consumption: 1.5 Million bags per year
Coffee Export: 1.5 Million Bags of 60 Kg. (132.29 lb.)
Cultivated Area: 400,000 Hectares (988,000 Acres)
-- Unwashed: October to March
-- Washed: end of July to December
Arabica Introduced: The birthplace of coffee. Oldest
recognized country of origin for uncultivated Arabica species.
331,130 (94%) Smallholdings (less than or equal to 2.47 acres)
19,000 (6%) Government
Washed: Sidamo, Yirgacheffe, Limu, Bebeka
Unwashed: Harrar, Sidamo, Djimmah, Lekempti (wild coffee
Botanical Varietals: Numerous indigenous cultivars.
About 50% of the coffee produced in Ethiopia is consumed there as the population has a rich coffee drinking culture, replete with ceremony and tradition.