Ethiopia Konga

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I discovered this wonderful coffee while looking for a replacement for our Ethiopia Wata Dara. It truly was love at first sip. I had originally placed this coffee third in priority because we were committed and focused on replacing the Wata Dara and finding a decaf good enough to put our name on.

With new crops arriving in the next couple of months, we are going to be patient and wait to purchase either the new crop of Wata Dara or its replacement and hope a decaf will arise in our current search. Meanwhile, the Konga kept calling my name. So I decided to pick up a couple of bags. For me a “bag” of coffee weighs from 120 to 150 pounds. Konga is also the highest priced coffee I have paid for to date.

There are many things that make this coffee uniquely special.  One is that the coffee was pre-funded. In short, this means the government was not involved and the families received more than fair price for their crop. Another special quality is that the coffee cherries are selected with special care and are naturally processed and sun-dried on raised beds for outstanding quality and taste. It is rare to find sun dried coffee. The process takes longer, has higher costs, and has a high risk of the crop being ruined if moisture/rain happens during the process. The end result of sun drying is that the bean absorbs fruity sweet flavors from the cherries.

This coffee was the most difficult for me to create a roast profile for.  It simply does not roast like my other coffees. I call it a dark roast because the final temperature is actually closer to my extra dark roast. However, this coffee looks and tastes like a medium roasted coffee.

When you first open the bag your nose will be hit with a fruity aroma. If you take the time to breakdown the different scents you will find hints of apple, pear and berry. Then you will notice vague notes of a nutty chocolate fragrance. With the first sip of this coffee you will notice that it hits your whole tongue with a crisp refreshing apple like “acidity”. A common misconception to people new to specialty grade coffee is the word acid or acidity in descriptions of the coffee. Because many people have gotten acid stomachs and stomach aches from lower grade of coffees they think of the word “acidity” as meaning bitter tasting coffee when they hear or read about it in coffee descriptions. Actually, when referring to acidity in coffee we are talking about citrusy acid which is pleasant and refreshing and is a highly sought after trait in fine coffee.  You will also taste a slight bitter-sweet dark chocolate as you enjoy the highly complex Konga.

This coffee is definitely not for everyone though because it is truly different from all the other coffees we offer. It is however, a highly prized and highly sought after type of coffee in the specialty coffee world.  If you are a wine lover or a “foodie” you will probably love it.  If you simply want to experience widening your palette, we dare you to dive into Konga’s amazing complexity of flavors.

Here are some quotes from other roasters about this coffee

Organically produced but not certified as such, and clean as a whistle.  Fruit bomb! Going right into all Badbeard espresso blends but also a winner as a drip coffee. www.badbeardscoffee.com/Ethiopia-Yirgacheffe-natural-process-Konga-Zone-Coffee

Not the typical floral-citrus taste profile expected from a washed Yirgacheffe. Not even close! This is an excellent example of how drying the bean with the full cherry intact can impart the flavor of the fruit, leaving you with a mixed-berrylishous, clean and sweet dessert that just happens to have originally grown on a coffee shrub. http://www.compasscoffeeroasting.com/blog/ethiopia-konga-natural-yirgacheffe

It’s AWESOME! Try it for yourself and let us know what you think. http://www.klatchroasting.com/Yirgacheffe_Konga_p/eth_yir_kon.htm

How to Create a Roast Profile

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I am beginning the process of creating a roast profile for the newly arrived Ethiopia Konga. For me this is the most fun part of my job. For those reading this it might be the most boring blog ever.

The first thing that happens is we receive a ½ pound sample of the coffee along with several other coffees. We then put the coffee through a series of tests. The Konga received a low grade for the quality inspection. Which means it is not the cutest bean you will ever see. Then we do a sample roast. A sample roast is done uniformly so all the beans have a basis to be compared to. This was when we came to the OMG moment and said we gotta buy this one!

Several weeks later the bags were delivered. Now we start the process of creating a roast profile. A roast profile is developed to bring out the best of the inherent flavors in the bean. Then it is written down so that the process can be repeated and create the same flavor profile each time it is roasted.

For the first round I will roast 3 pounds of coffee to 3 different levels (medium, dark and extra dark). All the while we are trying to reach set parameters during the roast and recording time, temperature, gas pressure and air flow.  We let the coffee rest overnight before we taste the different coffees.

After tasting the three roasts we decide which is the best direction for us to go. Once we decide on the degree of roast is best then we will roast another 3 sets of 3 pounds. This time we will vary the time it takes to get first crack from 9, 10 and 11 minutes. The cracking noise is when the center membrane of the bean breaks and one will hear an audible crack. Then to the time when we will finish the roast which is called the drop. Typically we want to drop the beans 3 minutes after the first crack regardless of the temperature we are going to roast the bean. We do this by adjusting the gas pressure and air flow. We let these coffees rest overnight before we taste them.

The next day we will decide which roast tasted the best. Then we will take note of what is overpowering and what is underdeveloped in the coffee. Using different techniques we can accentuate the positive and diminish the negative. We then take another 3 sets of 3 pounds to fine tune the roast profile.

So far the Konga has proved to not want to be like the others. The first crack starts 10 degree lower than the others. Slowing the bean down so that it takes a full 3 minutes till the drop temperature has proven to be difficult because the temperature increases way to fast. I am very sure that the end result will be something spectacular.