Our Experimental Coffee Trees

An update from Steve on coffee trees being cultivated in Brazil for Zingerman’s

 

Young, green coffee cherries in a coffee tree - our experimental Pacamara varietal, being grown at Daterra Farms in Brazil

Youthful Pacamara varietal coffee beans – our experimental lot being grown at Daterra Estate in Brazil.

I’m thrilled to be giving this update! We previously shared our excitement about an ongoing long-term project with our close coffee partners Daterra Estate in Brazil, cultivating the Pacamara varietal. Prior to embarking upon this project, I was struck by the immense size of the Pacamara coffee bean during my first-ever origin trip to El Salvador many years ago. I knew I had to do something special with this varietal. Pacamara has not traditionally been grown in Brazil, therefore our endeavor is rather experimental.

Our three-acre plot is on a high, flat plain in the Cerrado region near the city of Patrocínio. Daterra’s farms are located at an average altitude of over 3,000 ft and some terroirs are around 4,000 ft. The wind, sun and soil there are exceptional for Arabica trees. The diverse altitudes and microclimates on the farm make it one of the best coffee-producing areas in the country. With dry winds on pleasantly hot days and refreshingly cool nights, conditions are perfect for amazing beans to be grown.

Checking In On Our Trees

Although much of the world has slowed down, our little coffee trees continue to grow and thrive. We are more committed than ever to continuing this work to bring you the most exceptional coffee varieties we can find. Given the circumstances around the world this year, it’s not in the cards for us to make our annual trip down to Brazil to see the farm in person. However, updates continue!

After receiving some photos from the farm, I had a chance to video-conference with Gabriel Agrelli Moreira, Daterra’s head of international sales. We spoke about the status of our project and the current health of the trees on our experimental plot. An interesting observation they made is that Daterra’s agronomists are seeing a marked difference from other coffee trees on the farm. In the rest of the crop, Daterra is beginning to see maturation, which means the coffee cherries will be ready to harvest soon.

However, the Pacamara plot is actually about a month behind the rest of the farm! Our coffee cherries are still super green. Daterra is attributing that to both the trees still being quite young, and the typical coffee cherries of the Pacamara varietal being twice the size of a normal coffee cherry. These trees will be ready for picking by the end of this month, or beginning of June. Our estimate is that we’ll yield just 7 to 10 bags (132 lbs. or 60 kg. each) in total this year. However it is likely just 5 to 7 of them will be usable. After picking the coffee is processed, milled, and sorted, there is always a loss of volume.

The Details Matter In The Final Cup

Something interesting to note in coffee trees that’s perhaps not discussed often in the coffee world, is the difference between vegetative trees versus productive trees. Vegetative trees have lots of branches, leaves, tree structure, but not a lot of production. With mature, productive trees, it’s the opposite: we see lots of flowers, seeds, and cherries. From what we can ascertain thus far, our plot seems to be more vegetative. Even when fully grown, likely these trees will produce a “medium” amount of cherries. This may not sound ideal, but actually vegetative trees, while they produce less, tend to produce better quality cherries and coffees!

Low production for this year means our focus will be on determining a processing method(s) for the Pacamara. Of the dozen or so processing methods Daterra Estate is able to offer, we have asked that they use the honey, natural process on the tree (called “raisin”), natural processing on raised beds – a traditional African processing method, washed, and anaerobic.

Another aspect of our experiment is determining taste differences between coffees grown under shade as well as full sun exposure. The mahogany trees planted alongside the Pacamara trees are still young, so shade hasn’t been quite established. We have learned that those trees may still take a few years of growth before we see any tangible benefit. We hope our patience will be rewarded!

Love At First Sip

I fell in love at first sip with the Pacamara coffee (see the short video). It has an intense plum flavor that is really pleasant. I really can’t wait to invite you in for a taste, and share the fruits of our growing experiment with you in the future.

Stay tuned! Subscribe to our E-News or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, so you be alerted when this very special coffee is released!

Warmly,
Steve

Steve Mangigian, Zingerman’s Coffee Company Managing Partner

A Zingerman’s Coffee cafe – in your kitchen!

Now’s the perfect time to up your home coffee game!
 We have all-that-you-need coffee hand brewer kits bundled up and ready to go.

AVAILABLE KITS: 

For your inspiration and caffeination, we are also offering kits with your choice of Zingerman’s coffee beans, a Zingerman’s coffee logo mug, and your choice of book or pamphlet authored by Zingerman’s co-founder Ari Weinzweig.

Give us a call at (734) 929-6060 to order yours for curbside pick-up, or order online with Snackpass for contact-free pick-up in our cafe!

Your Coffee, Curbside! 🚗❤️

We are OPEN for take-out orders, and now – to serve you better – we’re offering our coffee, curbside! 🚗

For curbside delivery…

Step 1: Give us a ring at (734) 929-6060.
Step 2: Tell us your order; we’ll let you know when it’ll be ready.
Step 3: Call us when you arrive wit
h a description of your vehicle, and we’ll be out in a jiffy!
Step 4: Enjoy your daily cup o’ joe!

 

We are so grateful for your ongoing support, and look forward to serving you in our cozy cafe in the near future. ❤️

We are Open and Prepared: A Letter to Our Guests from Zingerman’s Coffee Company

Updated 6/5/2020

A Note About COVID-19

 

As you may already know, Governor Whitmer is allowing restaurants to reopen to the public starting Monday, June 8.  Our highest priority is your safety and our staff’s safety. To that end, we have a few guidelines for enjoying our cafe space starting on Monday June 8th: 

Our cafe may be open, but we are remaining diligent

THANK YOU in advance for helping uskeep a good thing goin’, safely. ❤️ Not ready to chill in our cafe? No worries! We are still offering curbside deliverycontact-free pick-up, and home delivery!

Peruvian Coffee From Café Femenino

Female farmers cooperative offers up superb coffee
Ari Weinzweig, CEO & Co-Founder of Zingerman’s 

 

Back in 2004, Isabel Uriarte Latorre co-founded Café Femenino, an organization dedicated to empowering women on the front lines of the coffee industry. Very much like the folks at Ziba in Afghanistan that I wrote about earlier this year, she’s built the business to support women—financially, spiritually, and socially—in the work world. The folks at Café Femenino share that,

Women in remote and rural coffee communities face a host of challenges that keep them trapped in poverty. Many of these isolated women live in male-dominated societies and have very little financial control or decision-making power. Four-hundred-sixty-four women farmers in northern Peru decided to change this dynamic by separating their coffee production from the men’s. At that moment, for the first time, this group of women created their own product and income . . . to support social justice and empowerment for women coffee producers worldwide. 

Erlita’s farm is near the village of Nueva York, a small coffee community in the Amazonas region of northern Peru, east of the Andes Mountains. (Intriguingly, there’s also a town Peru, New York, in the far northeast corner of New York state.) The Amazonas is a high-elevation area, typically 5,700 to 6,500 feet above sea level—ideal for high-quality Arabica coffee trees.

Coffee farmer and Cafe Femenino co-founder Erlita Baca Arce with her daughter, Ketty, holding baskets of red hand-picked coffee cherries

Does the work of Café Femenino make a difference? Steve Mangigian, managing partner at the Coffee Company made the trip down to Peru last summer. He quickly offered that, “the dynamic is completely different than traditional male-run farms.” Every article I’ve read about them details outstanding results: increased local recognition of the work the women are doing, both in the fields and on the home front; a reduction in abuse (physical, emotional, and sexual); an increase in income; more men participating in child care and housework, and upswing in school attendance among local girls. It’s hard to argue against any of that! In addition, because the female coffee producers in the area now have the potential to get a better price for their coffee, many men are signing the deeds of their land over to their wives so their coffee will be eligible for Cafe Femenino designation.

Of course, the key question is, how does the coffee taste? Steve Mangigian is particularly high on Erlita’s beans: “This coffee has so many delicious layers! On first sip, it has a deep fruitiness that reminds us of plum. It also has a rich, toffee-like sweetness and a full, creamy body.” I say, it’s pretty darned tasty! Darker than last month’s Peruvian Peaberry. Smooth, a bit of dark chocolate, maybe even like a piece of toasted Country Miche bread from the Bakehouse. The coffee has a surprisingly clean finish and modestly full mouthfeel. All the brew methods have been good, but I’m stuck on the smoothest flavor of the bunch, which I found to be Chemex.

Back of Zingerman's Peru Erlita's Lot coffee on top of the Cafe Femenino logo on a coffee jute bag.

Sip some of this great new coffee and nibble on a Bakehouse cookie—as of this month all of them are even better than ever because they’re made with freshly milled whole grain from Ferris Organic Farms in Eaton Rapids at the Bakehouse. Erlita’s Lot is available at the Coffee CompanyNext Door Café, and at the Roadhouse.

Excerpt from Ari’s weekly Top 5 E-Newsletter. To stay in-the-know about things that Ari is excited about in the Zingerman’s family, sign up here

Coffee Origin Story: Peru

Steve Mangigian, Managing Partner of Zingerman’s Coffee Company, chronicles his latest globetrotting adventure to where the coffee is grown.

 

Zingerman’s Coffee Company Managing Partner Steve Mangigian, with one of the highlights of his trip!

 

At Zingerman’s Coffee Company, our mission is to source and roast the best coffees on the planet, and to present them to you, the coffee consumer, with as much detail as possible. That way, we can draw you into the experience of not just tasting what makes these coffees so special, but understanding the journey of the bean in a way that is approachable and accessible.

Origin travel has become a standard part of our approach to sourcing great coffee. We regularly receive samples from the importers we work with, but it’s only after we find a “keeper” that we will consider traveling to that origin.

Typically when I travel to origin, I am all about business; I endeavor to complete my work and then get back to the States. There is always work that needs to get done back home! Travel does not inspire dramatic romanticism in me as it does for others. I have never traveled well internationally, so the prospect of traveling to new and different places never appealed to me. Coffee origin travel is hard work, probably the hardest of all the work we do at Zingerman’s Coffee Company.

Every trip to origin – whether it is the first time or tenth time – always feels like a brand new experience. Seeing different cultures and learning new things keeps me captivated, even after close to a decade and a half of traveling. Visiting the most remote areas of the world in search of high-quality coffee – and finding it – makes it all worthwhile. This trip to Peru was no exception.

 

PERU

When the opportunity came to visit Peru – which would be a first for me – I considered whether or not I should accept it. When trips to new countries present themselves, language barriers, access to food and water, and cultural differences need to be considered. Upon reflection, I realized I tend to favor visiting countries I have navigated many times before, like Brazil and Costa Rica.

Peru is home to a section of the Amazon rainforest and Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan city high in the Andes mountains. The region around Machu Picchu, including the Sacred Valley, Inca Trail and colonial city of Cusco, is rich in archaeological sites. On Peru’s arid Pacific coast is Lima, the capital, with a preserved colonial center and important collections of pre-Columbian art.

In the end, an opportunity to visit Machu Picchu (one of the wonders of the world) is what made me decide to take the trip. Although I have not studied this legend very much, the stories told to me intrigued me to experience it first hand.

 

Steve at the WONDER that is Machu Picchu.

 

MACHU PICCHU

So, off I went to South America. Detroit to Lima to Cusco via Air Lima, then a train ride and, finally, a bus trip. At about 11,000 feet above sea level, Machu Picchu is not the easiest location to travel to and unless you frequent high altitudes, altitude sickness pills are a must. Hotels in the area even cater to the altitude challenge by providing pure oxygen and tea prepared with the leaves of the coca plant to offset symptoms.

Photos only capture one dimension of the beauty of Machu Picchu. We hiked the entire area, traversing challenging terrain to see Machu Picchu’s full wonderment. The intricacy of the architecture, the knowledge of what the site once was, and the labor it took to accomplish truly incites the imagination.

After about four hours of exploration, it was time to make our way back. I would be remiss if I did not mention that we left our hotel in Cusco at 4 a.m. and did not return until approximately 11 p.m. that night. Suffice it to say, the day trip was worth the time and effort.

When the Cusco leg of our trip ended, it was time to travel almost 1,200 miles north to coffee country, where we would spend the coming week. We arrived in Chiclayo, a bustling city with a population of about 700,000 and some of the most outlandish traffic and driving I have ever witnessed. Chiclayo, located in northeast Peru, served as the center point of our daily travels, providing relatively easy access to the four communities we’d visit across the mountainous Lambayeque region:

Day 1-Corral de Piedra Cruz De Mayo, Colaya
Day 2-Tallapampa
Day 3-Villa Rumi
Day 4-Aspro La Florida, Agua Azul

Each day started early in the morning, accompanied by a caravan of visitors travelling along with us. It took us four to five hours one way to get to each daily destination, which meant eight to ten hours on the road every day, varying between sea level and 4,000-7,000 feet above sea level. On average, the drive along paved roads would last over an hour and then, the rest of the trek took place on dirt roads plagued by ruts which seemed to swallow our vehicles as we traversed up the narrow, steep paths. Along the way, we saw breathtaking scenery of some of the most beautiful landscapes and waterfalls with vistas. We would ascend above the clouds, seeing nothing but never-ending mountain ranges.

 

Left to right: Victor Rojas Diaz, Isabel Uriarte Latorre, & Steve.

 

CAFÉ FEMENINO

During our stay in Chiclayo, we were greeted every day by our hosts Isabel Uriarte Latorre and her husband Victor Rojas Diaz, owners of the exporting company, Proassa, which exports coffee to Organic Products Trading Company (OPTCO), who then imports the coffee into various coffee consuming countries.

Isabel co-founded Café Femenino, an organization dedicated to empowering women on the front lines of the coffee industry, with OPTCO. Together, they created a social business program that provides a framework for women coffee producers to gain access to their full potential through financial and social incentives. This program now operates in eight coffee-producing countries around the world.

Every community we visited on this trip had a strong group of women who not only worked the land, but owned the land. In many of my origin visits, this is typically not the case, but it’s a growing trend, particularly in developing countries. Café Femenino was developed for the purpose of empowering women who grow coffee in very isolated, impoverished, rural areas.

As the Café Femenino website states:

“Women in remote and rural coffee communities face a host of challenges that keep them trapped in poverty. Many of these isolated women live in male-dominated societies and have very little financial control or decision-making power. In 2003, 464 women farmers in northern Peru decided to change this dynamic by separating their coffee production from the men’s. In that moment, for the first time, this group of women created their own product and income. Their coffee cooperative CECANOR joined their commercial partner Organic Products Trading Company (OPTCO) to create Café Femenino—a gender-focused program to support social justice and empowerment for women coffee producers worldwide.”

Café Femenino started in Peru in 2003, and has spread to eight other coffee producing countries including Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Rwanda and Sumatra.

 

THE COFFEE

On day five, after experiencing these amazing communities, it was time to taste their coffee. The cupping table saw about 18 coffee samples and many were from the different areas we visited. Overall, the coffees showed a lot of promise. I have since received many samples based on this cupping exercise, and am happy to say we will be adding a Peruvian coffee to our roster of coffees!

Although this trip has ended, our journey into the coffees of Peru is really just beginning. As we explore the possibility of working with different communities within Peru, I am captivated by the hard work of the women in this country. We here at Zingerman’s Coffee Company desire to support this work in the future. The people of Peru are warm and hospitable, and the country is beautiful. I will be back!

 

Freshly picked coffee cherries.

 

FEBRUARY ROASTER’S PICK

This February, we are thrilled to feature a rare Peruvian Peaberry that I sourced on this trip as our Roaster’s Pick of the month. What’s so special about this coffee? To start, it’s comprised of peaberry beans, which make up less than three percent of all coffee beans. It’s grown near the Cerra Condorpuna, host to one of the largest old-growth forests in the Amazon. The altitude and ample shade of this area makes for an ideal environment for growing high-quality coffee. Peruvian coffee is hand picked and, after processing, is transported by foot or mule by farmers into town via mountainous trails. Indeed, this coffee tastes as exceptional as its origin. It will only be around for a limited time, so be sure to stop by the café or order it online through Zingerman’s Mail Order!

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English Summer Cucumber Goat Cheese Toast

Great for breakfast, lunch, a snack, or an early dinner!
Ari Weinzweig, CEO & Co-Founder of Zingerman’s 

english summer cucumber toast

One of the great, still almost secret culinary treats of the ZCoB, I’d say, is the toast at the Coffee Company out on Zingerman’s Southside. The Coffee Company toasts bring together a lot of the best of what we do into one significant, but not overly large, meal. Artisan bread from the Bakehouse; cheeses from the Creamery; spices from Épices de Cru; Irish butter; extra virgin olive oil… really, what could be bad?!

One of my favorites of the eight different offerings on the Coffee Company’s toast menu is the English Summer. Toasted Sicilian Sesame Semolina bread, drizzled with olive oil, spread while still warm with a nice bit of the Creamery’s handmade artisan cream cheese, topped off with some of the freshly ground 5-Star Pepper blend, a little bit of sea salt, and a final drizzle of olive oil. It’s a wonderful combination of contrasts; light but still substantial; savory but with a subtle underlying hint of sweetness from the cream cheese and the sesame seeds on the bread. Vegetables, bread, and protein together on one fine toast set! All the way around, it’s a great way to eat.

It’s been about 18 months since we started doing toast and I guess the secret must be starting to get out because when I was there yesterday for a meeting, there were probably a dozen folks eating one of the very tasty toast combos. If you want to make a more complete meal of it, grab a salad from the Bakeshop or the Cream Top Shop. Sit inside or out, take a deep breath to get grounded. Appreciate the visual loveliness of the toast, then take a bite. Enjoy!

Excerpt from Ari’s weekly Top 5 E-Newsletter. To stay in-the-know about things that Ari is excited about in the Zingerman’s family, sign up here

Cameroon Peaberry Coffee

An elegant new arrival from the highlands of Cameroon

Marvelously delicate Coffee of the Month for March
Ari Weinzweig, CEO & Co-Founder of Zingerman’s 

coffee bag of Cameroon Peaberry

One of the things I love about working with single-origin coffees is that I feel like I get to travel the world regularly without really having to leave home! In the last year, we’ve featured Uganda, Costa Rica, Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, and Ethiopia. This time, the coffee of the month comes from a country few Americans will ever travel to, but that, of course, has a fascinating culture and history. Cameroon! It’s the only country in West Africa that has the altitudes required to grow great Arabica coffee like this (most all African coffees are from the East and Central parts of the continent). The country is often referred to as a microcosm of Africa because of its geographic diversity—everything from beaches to mountains, deserts to rainforests, all in 200,000 square miles. There are two distinctly Cameroonian styles of music—makossa, which comes from the cities, and bikutsi. It has about 250 different regional languages and uses both English and French as national languages as well. Cameroon is famous, too, for its folk wisdom. I love this beautifully telling Cameroonian saying: “No matter how fast a man is, he cannot outrun his shadow.”

This particular Cameroon coffee is a peaberry—those wonderful genetic mutations that manifest as small, “single” coffee beans rather than the usual “split bean” we see 95 percent of the time. The coffee comes to us through a direct trade program that works hand-in-hand with farmers in the regions of Oku and Mbessa to provide training and technical assistance, especially in organic growing, and helps the farmers get their beans to market. It’s got a nice cocoa-iness, almondy, toasted sesame, almost like a bold tannic black tea. If you can’t decide between strong tea and a cup of coffee, this one might just really hit the spot! It’s savory and succulent, mouth-watering, maybe a bit magical! Really nice after dinner, especially after a bit of a spicy meal. It’s definitely an up-and-coming star in the coffee world. Emily McIntyre, writing in Fresh Cup,” advised us all to, “Mark Cameroon specialty coffee in your minds. You’ll be hearing a lot more about it in years to come.” This month’s offering is a chance to get out in front of the curve! I’ve been enjoying it daily since the first of the month!

You may not be able to outrun your shadow but you can sure get over to the Coffee Company, Deli or Roadshow to grab a cup while supplies last!

 

Excerpt from Ari’s weekly Top 5 E-Newsletter. To stay in-the-know about things that Ari is excited about in the Zingerman’s family, sign up here

New Crop, Traditional ‘Spro

Fine-tuning Zingerman’s Espresso Blend #1, Year After Year
Steve Mangigian, Managing Partner

 

Zingerman’s has been working with Daterra Estate for 15 years since the inception of the Coffee Company. Our partnership with Daterra is a testament to what the term “relationship coffee” is all about. From our days as a micro-roaster in the corner of the Zingerman’s Mail Order warehouse back in 2003, and through the sizeable growth we have seen since, our partnership has grown as we have grown. The strength of the relationship starts on the farm’s cupping table.

Every year, I trek down to the farm during the harvest season to select the varietals which make up our Espresso Blend #1 coffee.

It’s quite the journey to get to the there which includes a connection in the states as well as 2-3 connections in Brazil culminating in a three hour car ride to the farm. From my front door to the gate of the farm, it’s about an 24-28 hour trip, daunting to any seasoned traveler. But, WOW, is it worth it!

How I spend my time at the farm has often varied.  In past years, part of my time was spent touring the farm (which, is actually split into 3 farms, and from there 300 “mini” farms). Nowadays, virtually all of my time is spent in the Daterra cupping lab, experimenting with different blends. It starts with tasting every coffee the farm has harvested (sometime up to 30 varietals) then narrowing down “finalist” coffees that I feel are either tasting superior this year or get us to our desired mark of producing a traditional northern Italian style espresso. I then prepare individual coffees as shots of espresso and play with different coffees to blend to the outcome we are looking for.

Two young baristas smiling and holding espresso pitchers

In Brazil, coffee primarily is an export – historically there was no real culture behind it, but a barista culture catching on there as we have it here in the States.

Why go through all this year after year? Well, for one, it’s really fun.  Though, more importantly the Espresso Blend #1 is an important coffee for us, as it makes up 30% of our coffee sales! It’s crucial that we taste (“cup”) the individual varietals every year, as each harvest brings distinctive, and sometimes surprising, flavors for us to consider – and it’s our goal to make sure that the blend has a consistent profile, year after year. The result? We aim for an espresso that is syrupy, sweet, velvety, full-bodied, and a little nutty.

I’m more excited than I ever have been for this year’s blend, which will be comprised of 100 percent “natural” processed coffees, meaning the coffee cherries were dried whole, with the fruit still surrounding the bean. The blend hits our mark when brewed as an espresso, but it tastes exceptional as a brewed coffee, too. It has caramelly sweetness and notes of cocoa in the body.  Overall the brew is smooth, balanced, and lingers on the palate.

Next time you stop by the cafe, order an espresso (we serve ‘em with delicious & adorable espresso shortbread star cookies from our friends next door at the Zingerman’s Bakehouse!) and enjoy it as the Northern Italians do – standing at our bar-side table. For comparison, be sure to grab a bag of Espresso Blend #1 for home (we can grind the beans for you if you don’t have a coffee grinder at home). Let us know how you prefer it!

Curious about Coffee? Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to be the first to know about classes, events, new coffees, and more!

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe

A captivating coffee of the month!
Ari Weinzweig, CEO & Co-Founder of Zingerman’s 

ethiopia yirgacheffe

Ever since I started paying attention to, and appreciating, the flavors of regional beans, the nuances of various roast levels, the variations of crop years, and the other elements that make up an exceptional cup, Ethiopian coffees have kept their spot at the top of my personal taste list. Their remarkable, winy, at times blueberry-like, big flavors aren’t, I know, for everyone, but they’re definitely for me. I love ’em. This one’s been brightening my days since it hit the counters on the 1st of February.

Having been to Ethiopia three and a half years ago, I see with even more certainty why the coffees are so special. Not only do they taste great, but they have a fantastic socio-cultural history as well. Ethiopia is the literal homeland of coffee. It’s where the coffee plant probably originated, and pretty surely where coffee was first consumed as a beverage. As the story goes, a young goat herder named Kaldi noticed his goats frolicking more than usual after eating the berries of a certain bush. He picked the berries and brought them to an Islamic monk who showed his disapproval by tossing them into the fire, from whence the first coffee roasting commenced. Somehow Kaldi decided to grind and brew the toasted beans and, apocryphally at least, coffee was born. Ethiopia is also the place from which Yemeni traders took coffee to Europe and the rest of the world. All of which is why coffee, quite simply, means about 88 times more in Ethiopia than it does anywhere else in the world.

The traditional accompaniment for coffee in Ethiopia? Not a croissant, not vanilla syrup, not a cookie (though that Kifli would be an amazing accompaniment). It’s popcorn. That’s right. If you order coffee in a traditional setting, say after dinner, it will come with a bowl of popcorn. And while that may seem odd, I’ll tell you that it’s delicious. Sample some topped with one of the amazing spices from the folks at Épices de Cru alongside your next cup.

This month’s roaster’s pick is a particularly lovely bunch of beans from the Yirgacheffe district. The town of Yirgacheffe is about 250 miles south and slightly west of Addis Abbaba—roughly an eight-hour drive on Ethiopian roads. It comes to us from Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union. It’s likely the home region to many of the first coffee trees, and the coffee does have a clarity and elegance that’s rather extraordinary. Carmelly and smooth with a bit of delicate cocoa-like deliciousness, and a slight, bright hint of citrus at the end. Everyone at the Coffee Company is talking about it. Barista Cholie Diaz loves it brewed in a Clever. I’ve been enjoying it as Pour-Over. Any way you brew it, it’s wonderful.

Excerpt from Ari’s weekly Top 5 E-Newsletter. To stay in-the-know about things that Ari is excited about in the Zingerman’s family, sign up here!