Ethiopia Guji

Ethiopia is one of the most distinctive and fascinating coffee growing regions of the world. Industry veteran Kenneth Davids has called it “A feast for aficionados.” 

There is a stunning amount of flavor variety found in coffees from Ethiopia. Various combinations of plant genetics, micro-climate, and processing methods produce cup profiles that range from citrusy, floral, bright, and elegant, to rustic, spicy, and deeply fruity.

This coffee from the Guji area is a fully washed lot from the Birbirsa Cooperative. 

We found it to be an overall wonderfully balanced cup. Notes of blueberry and milk chocolate hit us first, and the coffee finishes with a subtle, sweet citrus brightness. 

 

East Timor

While many coffee drinkers are familiar with beans from Indonesian islands like Sumatra or Java, coffees from East Timor (also known as Timor-Leste) are harder to come by. Though coffee makes up about 80% of this country’s exports, it represents less than 1% of global coffee production. And until recently, it was not a region usually seen featured as a single-origin offering.

We are excited to showcase this distinctive coffee and think there are good reasons to be hopeful about the future of specialty production in East Timor. There have been recent efforts to improve farm management practices, processing mills, and other infrastructure – and the cup profile achieved by producers in this region speaks to those efforts. 

We were most surprised by this coffee’s unique mouthfeel, or body – that is, how it feels on your palate as you drink it. There is a rich, creamy quality to each sip that we found delicious. 

Uganda Rwenzori Natural

This delicious, unique coffee came down from the Mountains of the Moon, the glacier-capped Rwenzori range stretching between Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the western Ugandan border. The snow-capped peaks and the glaciers produce many rivers. High altitude, fertile soils and plentiful rainfall provide ideal conditions for growing speciality coffee. Rwenzori Arabica is grown under the shade of banana trees.

Known as “drugar” – which stands for Dried Ugandan Arabica – these beans are Uganda’s version of natural process coffee. The processing method for this coffee is unique as well. The coffee cherries are collected as daily lots, handpicked, and then floated before set out to dry on mesh racks housed in a greenhouse where they are turned, leveled and checked daily over a 18-20 day drying period. This specialty treatment is very new to the region – less than 1% of coffee originating from the Rwenzoris will be processed in this way.

This coffee is fruity (think peach, nectarine) and bright with a rich, syrupy body.

Tanzania Mwika Peaberry

Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa — slightly larger than two Californias. It’s renowned for its rich, volcanic soils and abundance of rainfall – both ideal for growing coffee. This coffee is produced by a cooperative in the town of Mwika, just east of Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, is about 8 miles from the Kenya border. Mwika is referred to by locals as one of the ‘gateways’ to Kilimanjaro. The Kilimanjaro game reserves and large coffee estates made Tanzania a household name.

This single-origin, hand-picked peaberry is lovely: full-bodied and bright, with hints of apricot which round out the cup. It comes to us from Mwika North, a cooperative established in 1984. Mwika North became one of the first organic certified producer groups in the Kilimanjaro region. The producers still take pride in following organic farming standards.

Costa Rica Hacienda Miramonte – Zingerman’s Grand Reserve

We are excited to introduce a single-estate, natural process coffee from Costa Rica’s Hacienda Miramonte. Most beans from Costa Rica are processed using a “washed” method that uses water to remove the coffee fruit from the bean inside. Our lot is naturally processed coffee, meaning the beans were dried out with the fruit still attached.  These coffees are known for having amazing sweetness and a rich, velvety body. We found this coffee to be wonderfully balanced and caramelly with honey-like sweetness.

Reserved exclusively for Zingerman’s Coffee Company, our lot is the result of many years of collaboration between Zingerman’s Coffee Company and the farm.  Managing Partner Steve Mangigian works closely with the folks at the farm to bring this coffee to market and oversees processing, milling, and final sorting.

Hacienda Miramonte was started in 1917 by the matriarch of the Gurdian family, Lucila Duval de Morales, and is now operated by her great-grandson Ricardo.  Generation after generation, the Gurdians have reaffirmed their commitment to growing quality coffee while serving as stewards of the environment and their local community.  This is the fifth season we have worked with the Gurdians and we are proud to be their partners.

Guatemala Antigua

This coffee comes to us from small-holder producers in the Antigua Valley of Guatemala – the oldest and best-known coffee-growing region in the country. The Antigua valley is called “Panchoy” (“large lagoon”), a name from the indigenious Cachiquel tribe. The valley is encircled by three volcanoes: “Agua”, “Fuego” and “Acatenango”. Thanks to the rich volcanic soils, altitude, plentiful rain and sun, and consistent temperatures the beautiful valley enjoys, conditions there are quite ideal for growing a large amount of high-quality Arabica beans. This is the kind of coffee we drink all day. It is balanced and smooth, with elegant, citrus fruit notes that make your tongue dance.

Papua New Guinea Apo & Angra Cooperatives

About 85% of coffee from Papua New Guinea is grown by smallholder farmers whose plots are scattered over demanding and sometimes treacherous terrain. Most smallholders grow around 1,700 trees, but some grow as few as 20 along with a number of other crops. Sourcing a substantial volume of coffee from these smallholders in remote areas can be difficult.

That’s why we were thrilled to find this selection from the Apo and Angra Cooperatives. Last year, this coffee was imported as a blend from three cooperatives. This year, volume from the cooperatives increased, and it could be imported as a blend of two. As the individual cooperatives grow, more separations can be made — further bringing into focus the distinctive characteristics each has to offer.

French Roast

French Roast refers to a dark roasting style that is surprisingly difficult to do well. We currently use a Guatemalan bean from the farm Finca Santa Anita. This bean serves delicious as a French Roast, as it keeps its regional characteristics while still being able to take a lot of heat. This coffee has a slight, pleasant acidity and notes of sweet, dark cocoa.

Roadhouse Joe

In preparation for the opening of Zingerman’s Roadhouse in 2003, months of collaboration and tasting resulted in the creation of this signature coffee blend. It’s been a hit ever since. Designed to complement food, it emphasizes body and balance over sharpness and acidity. It finishes with a very slight nuttiness and is by far our most popular blend.

Technically, it’s a mix of Papua New Guinea, Costa Rican, Indian, and Brazilian Peaberry, each added for their contribution in body, balance and nuttiness. Less technically—but more importantly—it’s a sensible, smooth, crowd-pleasing coffee that’s guaranteed to satisfy anyone.

Brazil Peaberry

From Daterra Estates, this coffee is a blend of varietals that produce a mellow, nutty coffee that has very low acidity. Peaberry refers to a single small seed that develops in the coffee fruit instead of the normal two seeds. When the coffee is sorted by size for milling, the smallest screen beans, including the peaberries, are the final separation. Peaberries are found naturally in about 3% of coffee cherries.

Daterra is perhaps Brazil’s most refined coffee grower. This coffee is a favorite of both the owner of Daterra Estate and ours. It is nutty, rich, and smooth.