Thursday, November 17, 2005


the amazing finch wa yrg

long-time readers may recall that i've written many times about the historical ethiopian internet coffee auction, which was a tipping point for the specialty coffee industry. the batdorf latitudes kello yrg i've been writing recently about came from that auction.

ethiopian gedeo coffee farmers at market as did today's incredible coffee, the amazing finchwa (or finch weha, depending on how you transliterate it from amharic's abugida) yrg that oren bid on, as i mentioned in the original ethiopian auction post linked above. coffee farmers like those pictured here, members of the gedeo ethnic group, grew this beautiful coffee.

oren's finchwa is a "naturally" organic, certified fair-trade coffee, grown at 5,900 ft. the name "finchwa," oren says, means "original source."

the co-op subjected these beans to the dry process. at auction, oren paid US$3.18 for the green, meaning the farmers received a substantial premium for the superior cupping quality of this coffee, coffee they lovingly grew with care.

the gedeo people tend their coffee in the home vegetable gardens that surround their humble dwellings, and often refer to the trees as their children. this is how central coffee is to their way of life.

it's also crucial to note that the finchwa is rare coffee -- there are only 18 bags of it in the whole world. period. no more.

dear readers, now that you have an overview as to how special these ethiopian coffees are, get out those scaa flavor wheels.

since oren's a chemex fan, i ground these beans as i did the kello yesterday, and brewed them the same way, but at oren's recommended dose of 2 oz/57 g coffee for 26 oz/769 ml water. my total brew time was 4 mins 27 secs.

oren had roasted the finchwa darker than scott did his kello yrg; the beans exhibited a light sheen of oil. so i'm calling them a full city +.

the roast date is 11/11, meaning the coffee is now 6 days old.

the second these beans hit the grinder hopper, it was easy to smell the blueberry aroma. the dry grounds perfumed my kitchen in a floral, blue breeze -- a most excellent sign.

oh, i thought, this is another yrg disguised as a harrar! if the sourcing weren't so transparent on these ethiopian coffees, i would have sworn from this first scent that it was a harrar.

after the coffee had bloomed in the chemex, i gave it a stir and was pleasantly surprised to see the blue note turn more towards a plum (actually it reminded me rather of the recent tamarillo, but that may just be because the fruit was still relatively fresh in my mind).

now i'm going to have a problem describing this middle part of the bouquet. as scaa chief ted lingle once said to me, "coffee is infinite: the wheel is just a guide to the mountaintop where you go on alone and gaze into forever."

this is a coffee where we have to leave the wheel so to speak -- the middle of the rich bouquet seemed to me rather a mix of malty, toasty but also the stem of dried sage. (have you ever gotten a dried sage stem in your bowl of new mexican green chile? like that!)

there is no doubt that the aftertaste of the finchwa is chocolate-y, like a harrar. the finchwa is a tad different than the kello in that it's more mocha-y -- you sense more "roasted coffee" flavor in with the chocolate -- this is probably due to the finchwa's darker roast level.

when cooler, i thought the finchwa was a medium-wine-y tasting coffee; the kello seemed more wine-y to me. again, this is probably due to the finchwa's somewhat longer roast.

as a result of this roast level, the finchwa also had a notable balance. black, it's a complex coffee with an intriguing set of aromas and that wonderful deceptively harrar body.

with light cream and a little raw sugar, the wine-y taste was reduced to a murmur, and the yummy mocha taste much increased. highly recommended!

tomorrow i must make this in the vac pot. . .if you're a fan of a wild, lemony-citrus feeling in your coffee, you'll love the kello; if you'd prefer a more balanced, plum-fruity feeling, the finchwa.

if you're like me, you count yourself blessed to have both of these fabulous coffees. the finchwa is such a limited production, i just don't see how a coffee lover could let it pass by forever without a taste.

needless to say, it would also make a stellar gift for your thanksgiving hostess!

posted by fortune | 7:15 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 6 comments

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