Black Oak Coffee Roasters - Ethiopia Chelelktu Natural$17
Coffee like the Chelelktu Natural from Black Oak Coffee Roasters (Ukiah, CA) is a good reminder of why I fell in love with Ethiopian coffees many years ago.
This fruity single-origin has already won multiple awards from the annual Golden Bean competition, including 2017's best overall coffee. Suffice to say, Black Oak was very excited to have me try it.
Disclosure: I received a 12oz bag of the coffee for free in exchange for a review. I do my best to not let free coffee submissions influence my ratings, but of course, it is impossible to eliminate all potential biases.
You can learn more about how I review coffee here.
General Notes & Observations
Producers: Chelelktu Mill
Country of Origin: Ethiopia
Variety: Indigenous Heriloom
Processing method: Natural
Growing altitude: Unknown
Roaster aroma notes: None
Coffee Concierge aroma notes: Floral, strawberry, blueberry, coconut
Roaster tasting notes: Raspberry, strawberry, blueberry
Coffee Concierge tasting notes: Blueberry, grape, strawberry jam, club soda, floral
We had some friends over for Halloween and decided to cup the Chelelktu, along with 4 other coffees I had recently received, 3 of which also came from Black Oak.
Although I initially knew which coffee was which, as we proceeded to the cupping I couldn't remember the order. So, for the most part, this was a blind cupping because I neither knew which coffee had won awards, nor what the various tasting notes were on the bags.
The Chelelktu was coffee #3 in the five-coffee-lineup, and it consistently got the most positive attention.
Mind you, none of our guests had ever done a coffee cupping before, but the Chelelktu was still the standout in both aroma and flavor.
The aroma was described as blueberry, nutty, cherry, and fruity.
Blueberry, chocolate cherries, and “sour” were the most common descriptions of the coffee in terms of taste. One of our cuppers even wrote “ooh la la” in their tasting notes.
In the end, the Chelelktu was the consensus favorite, so I don't think anyone was surprised to see that it was the Golden Bean 2017 Best Overall Coffee.
One of the brew methods that Chelelktu did particularly well with in my tests was as espresso.
The acidity produced a club-soda-like taste that I though was pretty ironic, considering sparkling water is usually served alongside a shot of espresso as a palate cleanser.
Sweet berries and strawberry jam were some of the other notes that were present.
Flavors were consistent, regardless of how long the shot was pulled. My first shot was 22g in 45 seconds, while my second shot was 30g in 30 seconds. The #10 setting on my Smart Grinder Pro seemed to be the sweet spot.
The Chelelktu won Silver for espresso at the 2017 Golden Bean Awards.
Pour Over Experience
My favorite brew method for the Chelelktu was definitely as drip coffee or AeroPress coffee.
Unlike the espresso experience, the biggest commonality between drip brew methods was the intense floral aroma and flavor that went along with the coffee's fruitiness.
These intense floral aromatics were exaggerated when brewed through the AeroPress. Initially, it was a more intense strawberry than the Chemex brew, and the floral flavors were more present when the coffee cooled.
The Chelelktu won Bronze for the drip category at the 2017 Golden Bean Awards. All coffees were brewed through the Behmor Connected coffee maker.
If you like bright, floral, light roast coffees, then the Ethiopia Chelelktu Natural from Black Oak Coffee is a must-try for 2017.
Espresso and drip coffee lovers will have a good time with this one for its remarkable complexity, intense aromas, and overall great flavor.
If acidic coffee is not really your style, then this is probably the only scenario where this coffee won't be to your liking.
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