Natural processed coffees from Yirgacheffe coffees are very popular now have a huge fan base for their bold, vibrant, juicy, fruit driven flavour profiles. This acts as a real counterpoint to the more traditional washed coffees from this region famed for their floral aromatics and tea like mouth feel.
Terroir and process play an equal role in delivering this full on flavour profile. The region has a diversity of indigenous coffee varieties that make Yirgacheffe coffee taste like no other. In terms of processing the method has more similarity to that of other growing regions. Ripe cherries are delivered to the processing station. After sorting into different qualities they are then carefully dried on raised beds - initially the coffee is turned every hour or two until the initial moisture content is reduced, before the turning pattern then slows down after the first few days until a stable moisture content is reached. Natural coffees then need to rest to reduce astringency and improve the cup quality before being milled a minimum of two months after picking.
As with most Ethiopian coffees for Artisan this Chelelektu was sourced through the large centralised EXC platform that deals with most coffee in Ethiopia. The Chelelektu mill, about ten miles due south of Yirga Chefe town, is one of the higher altitude mills and known for producing consistent high quality coffees year in year out. The mill works on balance and controlling the drying curve of red cherries to prevent unwanted ferment. This means the coffee is great when fresh, and the focus on control means the green unroasted coffee stays fresh longer than many other coffees from the wider region.
This selection from Chelelektu represents the sweet, blueberry forward nature of natural processed Yirgacheffe very well. The berry fruit profile is refined and less boozy than some from the region. The best natural Yirgacheffes, like this grade one, have a basket full of very berry ripe fruits including, blueberry, strawberry, and cherry in the brewed cup. The taste balance is very different in natural processing when compared to washed process coffees too because more of coffee's naturally occurring sugars are retained. This means sweetness is more prominent in the taste balance which works harmoniously with the tropical fruit flavour profile.
We have kept the filter roast light to preserve the clarity of cup and let the ripe fruit flavours roll out, particularly blueberry, amarena cherry and mango. Delicate and transient floral aromas of violet come though as the coffee cools and a quality black grape acidity balances this very sweet coffee together with a delicious, long lasting finish.