October 11, 2019
Along with the slew of incoming fresh Ethiopian coffee comes the return of our always popular Ethiopiques blend. What started as a "Workshop Blend" - limited one-time runs created around seasonal ingredients - became such an in-demand coffee that we decided to offer annually.
Ethiopiques is a blend of washed Ethiopian coffees that we select based on how they perform as espresso. We look for ingredients that will lend fruited sweetness, big body, bittersweet chocolate and a more moderate acidity rather than other, puckering bright options. Being fresh crop, it can be used as a lighter roasted brew option too (or dark for that matter!).
Coffees from Western regions like Agaro, Jimma tend to hit all of these marks and we're pleased to start this year's Ethiopiques with an all Western Ethiopian lineup. These first three ingredients are from cooperatives too so we can verify that the lion's share of the premiums we paid for the coffees are distributed to the coop members - an added bonus.
An Ode to Dual Use Coffees: Ethiopiques Blend
There are few things better than a coffee that tastes great as both espresso and brewed coffee. For a home roaster, a dual use coffee saves you the trouble of roasting separate coffees for each brew application - a huge timesaver, depending on the batch size of your roaster. In a cafe setting, this versatility begets flexibility: you can move a dual use coffee between drip, espresso, and cold coffee depending on day-to-day cafe needs.
We think that Ethiopiques is a great example of a dual use coffee, so we decided to put it to the test. We roasted three batches to different roast levels: City for brewed coffee, Full City for espresso and, most importantly, City+ for dual application. As expected, the City and Full City roasts were delicious (check out our cupping notes for more detail). But would a single roast level work for both brew methods? Here’s what we found:
City+ Roast Brewed Coffee: Fruited across the spectrum; stone fruit, berry compote and mild citrus that borders on tropical. Sweetness is clean, like simple syrup, and mouthfeel is juicy. Well-defined florals and an undertone of dark chocolate contribute to complexity in the cup.
City+ Roast Espresso: Espresso extraction can bring out bracing acidity in lighter roasts, so we were a little worried. Turns out, our fears were unfounded! Even at City+, Ethiopiques maintains the delicate and complex character of a single origin Ethiopian espresso with the added consistency and balance we expect from a blend. Less chocolate-forward compared to FC shots but incredibly sweet, with more pronounced florals and jammy fruit flavors.