Welcome back with week three of four with Huckleberry Roasters out of Denver, Colorado. This week, I’m brewing, pulling, and pressing Ethiopia Ardi, a natural Ethiopian coffee from Sidama Region, that Huckleberry says is one their cleanest lots of this coffee they’ve had yet. Their tasting notes include: juicy strawberry, milk chocolate, tropical fruit, and mixed berry jam.
After having this coffee prepared a number of ways, I’m interpreting their description of it being very “clean” to being a little less in your face than what I typically expect from natural Ethiopians. This is kind of a good and bad thing in that it’s not a giant fruit bomb or a cup of fruity pebbles, but it does offer up a little more clarity and flavor separation. The coffee smells fruitier than it tastes, but that’s not to say there’s not still a strong red berry fruit note present. In general, I would say dried strawberries come to mind the most, with a very snappy-sweet body and a milk almost semi-sweet chocolate body and finish. I say semi-sweet because it has a slight drying quality to it in the finish that leans more towards bakers chocolate or cocoa when the extraction is pushed too far, by any brewing method.
With that said I tended to prefer this coffee on the cooler and faster side to bring out the fruit and stay away from that over drying effect. This was most immediately as aeropress, where a usual 1:00 extraction + 30 second press resulted in some more dry powdery cups. Making the grind slightly more coarse and pressing a little earlier to finish the brewing out at 1:15 seemed to help bring back the juiciness and chocolate finish. My preferred aeropress recipe was:
- 17 grams of coffee, 9 clicks open on the Hario Mini Mill
- Inverted aeropress, add about half the water, stir just enough to get all the clumps out/get all the grounds wet.
- Fill to top, stir 3-5 times, place cap with rinsed paper filter, turn over on cup and pull up slightly to keep from dripping.
- The “lazy” body weight push at :50 seconds or so to finish at 1:15 – 1:20
The Hario V60 also preferred a faster brew time and cooler temperature. This being a naturally processed coffee, it needed a much coarser grind than washed varietals or even the Phantom Limb Blend that mixed washed and natural Ehtiopian coffees. My preferred recipe was:
- 1:17 brewing ratio – typically using 20 grams in the 02 size V60.
- 196*F water on the Bonavita Digital Variable Temp Kettle
- :30 second bloom, stir ground during bloom.
- Pour to 200 grams, stir again.
- Pour two more time to finish weight, rinsing ground off sides of filter.
- 2:15 total brew time.
These brewed cups were fruity sweet, with the milk chocolate finish being the most distinct flavor note.
I also have a great appreciation for coffees that are roasted to a level that is espresso and brewing friendly, natural Ethiopians happen to suit this quite well. I think I enjoyed this coffee the most as espresso actually, since the fruit notes were intensified and made more almost tartly sweet. Similar to my results with the Phantom Limb blend, I found this coffee to have better balance, more sweetness, and thicker body when using the IMS Precision double filter basket. My parameters were:
- 19 grams in : 33 grams out
- 27 – 29 seconds at 198F
Again, the milk chocolate finish was quite apparent, and the sweetness was more juicy and intense as espresso. The coffee worked okay in milk drinks no larger than a cappuccino, playing on the milky chocolate notes, but easily got lost in a latte.
Overall, this coffee was kind of on the lighter side for an Ethiopian, not as clean and crisp as a washed varietal, but not that classic inyour face fruit bomb of naturals from the last few years either. I really liked how versatile and transparent it was when using different brewing methods, and the ability to really taste how manipulating the recipe effected the results. $19 for a 12oz bag, and be sure to take advantage of Huckleberry’s free shipping over $45. Next week, we will have the last coffee I picked up from Huckleberry. Until then, make the most out of the weekend!