So we just rolled out a new Ethiopia, and it’s got quite a name: Washed Ethiopia Sidama Yerga Alem.
I’ll break it down bit by bit, and then describe how it differs from the other Ethiopias in our lineup.
Ethiopia: The country where the coffee was grown.
Washed: We’ll come back to this, I promise. It’s the only non-geographic part of this coffee’s name.
Sidama: Sidama is a geograhic distinction that is similar to a U.S. state. There are some important differences, but for our purposes, it’s the next layer down from country.
Yerga Alem: The town. Now, coffee is not grown in town, but the farmers who grew this coffee brought it to the nearest town, Yerga Alem, for collection and processing.
OK, back to Washed. Coffee “beans” are the seeds of the fruit of the coffee tree. For us to get these “green” (raw, not roasted) seeds, someone has to pick the fruit, and remove the seed. This happens in a lot of different ways, and they all fall into the basket of “processing methods.”
Washing (or wet processing) is one such processing method. The fruit is removed using a mill and water soaks almost as soon as the coffee has been picked. These coffees are very common in Central America, East Africa, and another famous region of Ethiopia, Yirgacheffe. Our Ethiopia Kochere is one such coffee.
Sidama, though, is known for Natural (or dry processed) coffees. The fruit, with the seed inside, is allowed to sit and dry in the sun for a longer period of time. These coffees have an intense, fruit-forward, winey character. Our Decaf is a decaffeinated Natural from Sidama. And Sidama isn’t the only place known for nautral processing. Our Natural Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Aricha is, as the name indicates, a Natural from Yirgacheffe.
This new coffee, a Washed Sidama, is unusual, because its processing method is uncommon for its region. Knowing about geography and processing lets us highlight why this coffee is so special.
So there, in a nutshell, is the name of our newest coffee, and how it is different from our other offerings from Ethiopia, coffee’s genetic home.
For extra credit, taste the Ethiopia Washed Sidama Yerga Alem, and discuss with your barista how its flavor reflects its origin and/or its processing method.