Single Origin Spotlight: Ethiopian Naturals

Single Origin Spotlight: Ethiopian Naturals

As new coffees show up at our roastery in Journal Square, we are afforded another fruitful opportunity to taste and talk about seasonal options making their way into the modcup rotation. 

In this blog I'd like to focus on a pair of naturally processed Ethiopian coffees. These are the very definition of Fac(t)01: Coffee is a Fruit and the kind of coffees that personify #drinkmoderncoffee.

For disciples of dry-processed coffees, Ethiopian naturals like these are rockstars and need little to no introduction. They do what it says on the tin and they do it very well.

Incredibly fruit forward with ripe dark berry fruit tones easily distinguishable on the palette, naturally processing an Ethiopian bean results in an uber sweet black coffee drinking experience. For the uninitiated this kind of coffee experience can be revelatory.

Say hello to my two little friends.......

Both of these two coffees I'd like to showcase today come to us from perhaps the best known coffee growing region in all of Africa, and almost a brand name in itself these days. Yirgacheffe is prized for its heirloom coffees, exceptional coffee growing altitudes & soil, and of course the knowledge and experience of its ancient farmers. The heirloom varietals of coffee grown in Yirgacheffe have traditionally been seen as the California and Chardonnay of the coffee world. Bright & complex; floral, citrus and tea like flavors dominate the cup.  This is a nice analogy when discussing washed coffees from the Yirgacheffe region. However both of these modcup Yirgacheffe offerings are naturally processed coffees, meaning the fruit was dried inside the berry/cherry. Therefore a better wine comparison for these two offerings would be more Malbec or Cabernet Savauginon than Chardonnay.

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Welde Hirbe Natural:

If you close your eyes while smelling and drinking this coffee, it’ll feel a lot like enjoying a bowl of warm blueberry compote with cream. Insanely fruit-forward with a slight floral undertone and a silky milk chocolate finish, this is a winter cup with some serious sweetness and depth. Currently a favorite of the modcup crew this is a wonderfully versatile coffee, awesome as a pour over whether with a V60 or Kailta, its equally good left in the hands of your favorite automatic drip machine.

Welde Hirbe is part of the single producer project developed by the Yirgacheffe coffee farmers co-op union and has been cultivating coffee for an impressive and staggering 30 years. Welde Hirbe’s coffees regularly achieve Grade 1 status and enable him to better support his family of 10 and we make sure they all see how appreciative we are of this fantastic single origin. 

A coffee is only ever good when brewed with care, here’s our recipe for brewing the Welde Hirbe pour-over style via V60/Kalita:

Dose out 20g of coffee and grind somewhere within the medium-coarse area of your grinders settings. Make sure to pre-wet your paper filter to both moisten it and heat the vessel that will hold the brewed coffee. Bloom the grounds with 100g of water at 200F/93C, and wait about 45 seconds to a full minute. Proceed to saturate the grounds with another 100g of water and let it draw down before adding the final 100g, making sure to make sure all the coffee has contact time with water. This will result in 300g of total liquid for a 1:15 ratio of dry to brewed coffee.  

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Gedeb Natural: 

Deep and rich in body and intensely sweet, dark and red berries dominate this wine like flavor profile. The acidity whilst still pronounced is much heavier and less bright than a washed coffee from the same producing region. This is one of the heaviest and fullest in body Ethiopians we have ever offered. When brewed in a French Press, as Omar said, "There's nothing like this" 
As discussed earlier, Yirgacheffe/Gedeb Zone coffees are very wine-like, in that they are incredibly flavor complex. Both of these coffees here are real fruit bombs of considerable depth, sweetness and beauty. In one of them a floral note joins the fruit party, and in the other some seriously sweet heavy bass is dropped on the tongue. The former is best as a pour over or drip, while the latter as a full immersion or wild ride espresso option.

Our French Press recipe worked very well with this coffee. Dose out 50g of coffee ground coarsely into the carafe, pour 700g of water at 205F/96C (1:14 ratio) and wait 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, break the crust that forms at the top of the carafe, and rest the plungers metal filter just at the very top so it makes contact with the surface of the crust/water, and wait an additional 7 minutes (do not plunge). This will allows the grinds to settle on the bottom of the carafe and minimizes the amount of fine grounds if poured into cups slowly. 


We’ve been so excited for Ethiopian naturals to finally arrive here at modcup, this years shipping and logistical problems have not helped their timely arrival and frustration was peaking. But as they say, good things come to those who wait. So we thank you for your patience.

Our Ethiopian natural offerings for 2021 start with the famed Yirgacheffe growing region, but we will branch out to Guji and have an incredible anaerobic processed lot from Sidamo that we will unleash at some point before the end of the year.

With temperatures dropping a little more every week on the east coast, a smooth, full-bodied, extraordinarily fruity coffee is the perfect respite to soften the bite of the cold.

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