Back with the naturally processed counterpart to last week's installment, Azmera is a Heirloom varietal that hails from the Sidamo region of Ethiopia. This coffee is said to receive extra care during the sorting and drying phases to avoid any fermented or unwanted flavors that some poor quality naturals have. Described as having, "orange gummy bear aromatics, and spice cookie and strawberry in fruity, lush cup." The coffee was definitely clean and did not display any off putting or rank notes of low quality naturals. The orange gummy bear aromatics seems rather specific, but fruity, complex, clean, and spice cookie are all spot on descriptors.
The coffee is on the lighter side in body and flavor boldness for a naturally processed coffee, but this isn't really a negative and offers up a more perceived delicate or intricate cup. Mouthfeel and body are light, and the grapefruit like acidity keep your palette engaged. This acidity is more pronounced as a tangy single origin espresso shot, where it lingers on your tongue long after the short shots are gone.
I felt keeping the shots fairly short or tight at 25 - 30 grams yield produced the best balance of retaining some body and syrupy sweetness to while not pulling the coffee too long and loosing some of its oomph and tangy fruit flavors. The shots were definitely on the brighter side of the acidity spectrum as this is a fairly light roast. My favorite shots were pulled at:
- 18.4 grams in an 18 gram VST basket > 25-30 grams out
- Using 202*F water for a 32 second pull.
Following that same recipe in a 5 ounce cappuccino produced what would be more universally crowd pleasing results. I'm slightly biased in that I tend to love the fruit and cream blend that natural Ethiopian cappuccinos provide so well, and this one is no exception, with a sweet and velvety strawberry Quik like sweetness that pleasantly lingered. I'm still quite surprised by how good these caps were considering the coffee was a bit bright as straight espresso, and fairly mild and light when brewed.
In the 02 size Hario V60 Ceramic, the coffee was sweet but very mild, and far more delicate than the heavier syrupy mouthfeel you would typically associate with natural Ethiopian coffees. The coffee required a very coarse grind, and had very slow draw down times that seem to get really slow at the end, which usually seems indicative of excess fines. The Vario is a pretty excellent brew grinder, but this did make me question if I should swap out the all purpose ceramic burrs for the brew-specific steel burrs.
Using 22 grams of coffee and that very coarse grind, I found the coffee balanced the more subtle and lighter spice cookie notes at a 1:16 ratio but gained a bit more body and sweetness at a 1:15 ratio, as would be expected. I tried water temps ranging from 197 to 202, but ultimately found cups brewed at 200*F on the Bonavita Variable Temp Kettle to be most favorable.
Even with a fast and aggressive pour, getting all of the water on the coffee as quickly as possible, it was tough to get the coffee to draw down much faster than 2:40. Flavor descriptors are pretty accurate, just a lot less in your face than I think most would typically anticipate. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the coffee was still very good.