Araya Buna - This coffee comes to us from the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX), the commission in charge of exchanging most exported commodities, including coffee. The basic way that it works is, unless you're part of a private cooperative, individual farmers submit their coffee to the exchange where it is graded based on processing and cup quality. Unfortunately, by the time they reach the market, they're also mostly stripped of provenance and given a general categorization instead. Most of the coffee we buy from Ethiopia belongs in the category of cooperative coffees, and we love that in addition to cooperatives offering really nice coffees, they also give us an inside look at the work done at the farm and wet mill levels. But every now and then we'll cup coffees from the ECX that are so good, we simply can't pass on the purchase. This is one of those coffees. We were able to obtain some very general regional info on the lot, and that it is from the area of Kochere. You may have tried our other coffees from this region, and I assure you, this is of the same high caliber.
Refined sweetness, Earl Grey tea, and floral grace notes: Araya Buna is a "classic" Yirga Cheffe in every sense of the word. The dry fragrance has a smell of sweet spiced tea and cranberries, floral undertones, and a sugar in the raw sweetness. Adding hot water boosts raw sugar smells, in the aroma, with a subtle pearl jasmine top note, and lemon essence. The nose on our City+ roast was like sugar caramelizing in a pan, creme brûlée crust, and raw honey, with a cherry blossom floral note in the steam. When brewed, the hot coffee shows flavors of brown sugar with a subtle lemon twist, a combination that reminds me of sweet crepes with that added zing of fresh squeezed citrus. The cup flavors are delicate, and body tea-like. Sweetness is boosted at darker roast levels, but I recommend keeping this coffee north of 2nd snaps, as the small bean size produces ashy flavors at Full City roast level. But City+ and Full City roasts offer subtle dark fruit flavors, red grape, flame raisins, and retain brisk acidity that is tea-like.
Cupping credit: Tom Owen. Processing: Wet; Varietal: Heirloom Seedstock; Appearance: 15+ screen.