Kurimi Organic Ethiopia
- July 2018
- Written by : Geoff Watts
Vice President of Coffee / Green Coffee Buyer
In any masterpiece, the pieces all fit together in a way that seems supernatural and inspires awe. The coffees of Southern Ethiopia are a masterpiece, perpetually regenerated through the tireless artistry of its land and the growers who work it. The region’s coffees are in some way a testament to nature’s grace, pushing the boundaries of flavor and aromatic complexity while remaining impossibly sweet and delicate. At their best, coffees from here are nearly untouchable in the world of specialty coffees.
The name Yirgacheffe has a distinct history that gives it a unique place among Ethiopia’s coffees. The very first washing station in the country was built there in the 1970s. The quality results were so promising that within the next decade these processing facilities were replicated throughout the region, becoming the new standard for most of Southern Ethiopia and replacing the ancient sun-dried approach that is still widely vigorously in other parts of the country. Ethiopian cuppers have long considered this area to be special, and the trade has tended to agree: Yirgacheffe coffees regularly command some of the highest premiums of all the Ethiopian coffee zones and are among the most revered coffees the country produces, cherished by those who have fallen madly in love with the perfume-like jasmine and lemongrass traits that are hallmarks of coffees from the South.
The coffees that had for many decades been lumped together as “Yirgacheffe” types actually come from a number of distinct municipalities in the Gedeo zone, in close proximity to the town of Yirgacheffe. In recent years, local woreda (‘district’) names like Kochere and Gedeb have earned their own distinctions and now market themselves individually, but all draw in their artistry from the same gorgeous palette.
Kurimi is our ode to the beauty and unparalleled complexity of the Gedeo archetype. Few other coffees can offer the combination spellbinding complexity and delicate, nuanced grace that are hallmarks of these coffees. The drama begins the fragrance — these are among the most intoxicatingly aromatic coffees on the planet — but what makes them so undeniably pleasurable is their irrepressible sweetness and profound depth of flavor. Delicate fruit acids and fresh floral traits present themselves clearly and in abundance, without ever coming across as aggressive. When brewed properly they are at once both eloquent and exciting, coffee’s answer to the finest champagne.
KURIMI: Best of the Best
The name Kurimi comes from a conversation I had over a decade ago with some farmers in Yirgacheffe during a visit to a washing station. We were gathered around a drying table full of freshly washed coffee and started picking through the individual seeds to isolate different varieties. We separated at least seven very distinct types. I asked them what I thought might be a controversial question: which is the best? Surprisingly there was an overwhelming consensus. After a moment of reflection nearly all of them pointed to the same one and offered the same assessment: “kureme, kureme, kureme,” Amharic for “best of the best.”
The best seed from the most heralded region of the country recognized by most coffee fanatics as having the most exciting coffee on the planet. What better choice to carry the banner for our Kurimi project with METAD and to display in full 4k resolution the uniquely expressive flavors that have made this area famous.