Nigusie Estate, Ethiopia
Nigusie Estate, Ethiopia
Elevation: 1850-2000 masl
Varietals: Heirloom Ethiopian
Several years ago, an importer we work with sent a representative to Ethiopia on February 17, 2010 to bid in Ethiopia's new Direct Specialty Trading platform. Basically, nearly all of Ethiopia's coffee now goes anonymously through the privately owned, government warehoused Ethiopia Commodity Exchange. In response to specialty coffee growers in Ethiopia and buyers abroad, however, the ECX developed a way for high-quality coffees to be sold on auction in a traceable and transparent way, the DST. In fact, all results of the auction are published online, including the name of the grower, the buyer, exporter, and final green bean price; the farmers who grew it are guaranteed 80% of that final sales price!
Unfortunately, the DST has since been decommissioned. Nevertheless, through the connections made with Nigusie at the DST, our importer was able to purchase the coffee directly. In February of 2011, one of their team visited Ethiopia and met the whole family who produces Nigusie at their farm. Lemma Edeto is the name of the owner who has been working in the coffee industry for 60 years. Although his land was confiscated in the 1970's, Lemma Edeto is running the first coffee farm to be established in their area, which he and his sons Nigusie and Haile are running at what is probably the highest elevation farm in the district. The farm is covered by shade trees and grown without the use of chemicals (though not certified organic). The farm has multiple, undocumented varietals of coffee trees and abundant springs that supply the farm with plenty of water.
Nigusie's coffees are dry-processed (natural, sun-dried), which means, as one of our cuppers put it, "Welcome to Berry-Town USA." Berry flavors abound in this year's lot: intense strawberry, with a soft blueberry background against even more intense notes of mango and papaya. The coffee is clean and unfermenty (unlike most natural processed coffees). It has a characteristic black pepper flavor and a subdued lemony brightness that, though prominent in past crops, barely peaks through this year. The body is medium with a layered silk and velvet feel. The finish is nearly all cocoa with subtle hints of basil and lots of stone fruit. This coffee makes ridiculously wonderful single origin espresso. Seriously.
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