Last month, we brought in a record number of new coffees, so many that we didn’t have a chance to share much more than a brief note about each. These coffees deserve better. We’re rectifying that problem now with a blog series called “Spotlight on…” that will shine a spotlight on new coffees we’re particularly delighted with. Today, we’re spotlighting the new crop of Ethiopia Natural Lake Abaya.
Bringing in so many coffees at once didn’t allow us to sit down for a formal cupping before putting them on the website. This isn’t usually a problem. We just use a temporary description based on our pre-ship cupping notes and descriptions provided by our importers. Once we are able to formally cup the coffees, we tweak the descriptions to match our cupping team’s more nuanced impressions.
When we were able to cup this year’s Ethiopia Natural Lake Abaya, it surprised us in the nicest possible way. Based on pre-ship samples and importer’s notes, we expected the coffee to be similar in flavor and body to previous crops. It does share many of their important qualities, the smooth, silky mouthfeel, the full body, the floral aroma and clean, rich finish, but this year’s coffee tastes very different from previous seasons’. Our new Ethiopia Natural Lake Abaya reminded us of how the flavor of a coffee can change, season-to-season and year-to-year.
We’ve come to expect interesting and complex fruit flavors in the naturally processed Ethiopian. A couple of years ago the flavor was plums, last year it was strawberries and peaches. Berry notes are also common. This year, we didn’t taste any fruit notes when we cupped the new crop of Ethiopia Natural Lake Abaya. What we tasted instead was a fudge-like cocoa note combined with a flavor that reminded us of old-fashioned coffee candies, the kind that weren’t all that sweet, but left coffee richness lingering on the tongue long after the candy had melted away. Combined with a very sweet, complex aroma—dried flowers, fudge, and a hint of pipe tobacco—this coffee knocked our socks off!
Our new Ethiopia Natural Lake Abaya hearkens back to a much older style of coffee, one that was common in the coffee shops of Istanbul in the mid-1800’s. It is excellent brewed strong and black, but even better with the addition of some milk and/or sugar. Another interesting way to brew this coffee would be as a single-origin espresso, maybe with a bit of sugar in the porta-filter for a Cuban-style cup.
I’m looking forward to trying it in a latte!
Have you tried our new Ethiopia Natural Lake Abaya? How do you think it compares to previous crops? If you have an opinion, please join the conversation and share it on the Facebook thread or in a comment on this blog. Or, if you'd like to share your thoughts with the wider world, leave us a coffee review on Google or on your favorite review site. Not only do we value your opinions, but reviews help more people find us. Help us connect coffee lovers to fresh, quality coffee!
~ Carrie, Paul and all of us at Coffee by the Roast.