Watermelon Jolly Rancher, Winey Fermentation, Coconut, Banana

This rare lot from Ethiopia is an atomic fruit blast, a disco ball of winey delight, a tropical juice box that pumps more jam than a 90s pop band. It also happens to come from a single farmer—meaning he's only one guy, not that he’s romantically available—which is atypical for the origin. Ethiopian brews tend to come from mills that blend cherries from hundreds of nearby farmers. When you find a single farmer lot, it’s often traditional: washed or dry with nary a frill to be had. Not this one. It’s an anaerobic crop, packed with all the uppercut tones you expect from oxygen-suppressed fermentation. In other words, it’s unicorn-rare, AC/DC loud, and pretty damn special. For those interested in the geekier aspects of coffee production, here's an accounting of what went into this brew (for those with lives, feel free to skip the next paragraph).

Faysel Abdosh, the coffee's esteemed producer, began by hand-selecting cherries for ripeness and quality. Then he put those cherries in oxygen-deprived tanks for seven days. During fermentation, he monitored PH levels until the coffee reached a target of 3.8, the zone that best highlights fruity/winey notes. He also put the fermentation vessels in water baths that maintained a constant temperature between 15 and 18 degrees Celsius. Finally, he dried the coffee on raised beds for a 30-day period until it reached a target moisture level of 12%.

The cup begins the way you'd imagine a Julius Caesar birthday party must have—with boatloads of fruit and wine. Watermelon JollyRancher is the marquee tone. The fruit candy packs heat in the form of winey fermentation, and that one-two punch—fruit and wine—sums up the brew. As the cup cools, the Roman vibe makes for the sunset, and another entirely different party begins: a Polynesian Lu’au. Banana makes an appearance. Coconut. A bit of pineapple acidity, but the throughline between the fetes is the wine, which remains constant across temperatures.

Is this description overwrought? Sure. But where wroughting is concerned, better over than under—especially with a coffee like this. Get some while it lasts.

  • Region - Karamo, Sidamo
  • Producer - Faysel Abdosh
  • Process - Anaerobic Natural
  • Altitude - 1,900-2,300 MASL
  • Varietal - 774110, 74158

Best for:

  • Pour Over
  • Aeropress
  • French Press
  • Drip Machine