Still in Ethiopia. I've been asked to stay on a few days to do some coffee detective work. I am posting this from the internet-bet
in Aleta Wondo, in the Sidamo region.
Daniel Mulu and I have come here to take some samples of winning coffees and make sure all the lots are still properly stored and separated. There was a high proportion of coffees from this area represented in the final round of the competition. Generally these producers are not represented by a big Addis exporter, and so explaining the rules of the competition and checking compliance takes a little extra effort.
We're visiting five different producers in this region and taking parchment or dry cherry samples (depending on the process used, obviously). Tomorrow morning we will use the eCafé training center here in Wondo to roast and cup the samples. We don't necessarily suspect anyone of trying to pull a bait and switch with these coffees, but it's plausible and it's happened in the past. Considering the kinds of prices these lots are likely to fetch in the auction, it's worth our time to come here and do a little sniffing around.
All the other competition judges (except for Amare Tesfaye who is busy at ECEA) have gone home, including Willem Boot. This left only Daniel and me to tell the difference between the winning lots and some other stuff.
In any case, it made for a fun drive down with Daniel and with Girma Edema from Guji Coffee Export. The road south to the Kenyan border is quite good, though it's long and the offshoots leading to the small towns are rocky and rough. The scenery gradually gets greener. South of Addis, we saw field after field of giant termite mounds. Around Yirgacheffe, things get very lush and lime green. We stopped in the actual town of Yirgacheffe (quite small considering its reputation) and had a cup of local coffee. That may have been the highlight of this entire trip: drinking that amazing, bright, delicate, lemony coffee while looking out over the mountainside covered with coffee trees.
I'm coming back to New York over the weeked. For real this time.
In the meantime... here are the results from the competition! I almost forgot to post them! All scores are the average of all judge scores minus the high and low outliers. In my opinion a couple more of the naturals were 90+. But here's the official tally:
Rank Code Coffee Mean Score
1 116 Lensemo Lamisso Naramo: Gasema/Agara; Aleta Wondo 91.3
2 105 Ethio-Agri CEFT Best Quality Washed Gemadro Gr. 2 87.7
3 107 Mahtebe Borse Borchere: Homecho Wacho 87.3
4 104 Moredocafé Washed Sidamo 2 87.2
5 101 Wonberta Coffee Export Enterprise 87.1
6-tie 112 Adam Bedane: Lot #085
6-tie 108 Kemal Abdella Limu: KAI 187/2000 85.8
8 103 DTC Yirgacheffe Gr. 1: Lot #002
9-tie 102 Mullege PLC: Sigiga 85.4
9-tie 109 Adam Bedane: Lot #086
9-tie 106 Habeja 2 85.4
12 111 Futena Debela Guraro: Titira 85.3
13 115 Habeja 1 85
1 GG SMS PLC Korate Sidamo Gr. 3: 290/08 91.9
2 FF S.A. Bagersh Biloya Gr. 1 90.5
3 NN Guji Coffee Export PLC 89.6
4 AA S.A. Bagersh Idido Gr. 1 89.5
5 HH IPS Dale: Lot 2 88.5
6 OO Mullugeta Dukemo: Mesalemia 88.3
7 BB DTC Holding PLC Yirgacheffe Gr. 1: Lot 003 88
8 II Moredocafe Special Prep Sidamo 4 87.1
9 JJ SMS PLC Kumato Sidamo Gr. 3: 291/08 86.7
10 KK Adam Bedane Sidamo Gr. 1 86.6
11 MM SMS PLC Koke Yirgacheffe Gr. 3: 292/08 85.7
12 CC SCFCU FTO Sidamo 84.8
13 EE Nardos Coffee Export Borena Gr. 4 - Kilinso 82.5
14 DD Ethio-Agri CEFT Gemadro Natural 80.6
15 LL IPS Derba: Lot 1 74.5