Tikur Abbessa Organic Single Origin Espresso
- September 2017
- Written by : Samuel Sabori
National Quality Control & Roasting Manager / Green Coffee Buyer
Espresso is an interesting topic these days. We have been witnessing something of an evolution in which shots are trending toward higher yields and lower concentrations: less in, more out. While we haven’t been pro-actively pushing this approach, we haven’t been exactly passive, either.
No coffees in our lineup are as aggressively deconstructed as our espressos. Our weekly cross-departmental Black Cat Project cuppings are a place where our Roasting Department, QC Department, Retail Educators and Baristas experiment relentlessly with new roast profiles and extraction approaches to optimize our espresso lineup. Our shot specs have reflected this trend, with yields stretching and concentrations tapering over the past year. We have tread carefully, because we believe only coffees harvested on the farm and processed at the mill with as much attention to detail as we take to quality control in our lab can hold up to this approach to extraction.
WHAT’S ORIGIN GOT TO DO WITH IT?
I believe that this trend only works when everyone along the supply chain pays it forward. Only when producers become more refined in their harvesting, fermentation, and processing can millers and exporters get more granular and refined in their lot construction. These improvements, in turn, flow downstream and create new opportunities for roasters like me. We are beginning to see more defined gas adjustments and exciting new development ratios in the roasting process that enable us to deliver more soluble, expressive and dynamic coffees to our baristas.
For this single-origin espresso offering, our second SOE release this season, we invited our QC and Retail teams to identify coffees that were built meticulously from the ground up, and to leverage those upstream investments for downstream innovation.
From the very beginning, our Tikur Anbessa Organic Ethiopia was a favorite across the board for its intensity, flavor definition, and overall consistency. Several other great coffees emerged throughout the process that would have fit the bill, but in the end we kept coming back to our first love, Tikur.
With the coffee selected, our roasters set forth to develop a roast profile that controls the fruit acids and accentuates the sweetness in this dreamy Ethiopian coffee. Once our Roasting Department had the coffee in a range it felt good about, we began asking the Retail Educators to assist with further refinements. We did this through an iterative process in which we sent trial roasts to our Retail teams across the country, asking them to pull shots and evaluate the coffee and share their perspectives. After a couple weeks, during which barista evaluations informed adjustments to the roast, we landed together on a profile that brings forth a sweet coffee that sings with soft citrus, drips with deep, juicy peach notes, and is grounded in a roundly sweet raisin flavor.
Our Tikur Anbessa Organic Ethiopia is an extremely exciting coffee in any format, but espresso allows us to show of its depth and exceptional structure in a way is harder to highlight on the pour-over bar, where Tikur often lands. This is a unique and exciting coffee that highlights steady progress at every link on our Direct Trade supply chain.