The first coffee I tried from Case Coffee Roasters was one of the best I’ve had to date, so I knew I had to try one of their other offerings.
Well, I had been on the road for two weeks and while I could have just ordered a bag online thanks to Case Coffee’s free shipping, Ashland, Oregon happened to be my last stop before heading back to the Bay Area. So after having lunch in Ashland, I stopped by Case Coffee to pick up a bag of the Ethiopia Reko, as well as an espresso for my dad (The Reko) and a cup of coffee for myself (Epiphany House Blend).
First off, the shop looked great. Very small, clean, and modern. There was en EK43 on the counter (I think), an acaia pearl coffee scale, and an Otto Swadlo roaster in the back corner. I didn’t pay attention to the espresso machine they had, but I imagine it’s a good one.
Their coffee was neatly displayed to the left of the register on floating shelves. There were at least 6 different offerings to choose from, and I decided on the Reko because Ethiopia is my favorite coffee origin.
I tried to not pay attention to the tasting notes, but I blew it. Peach, floral, complex. Well, at least they didn’t get more specific…hopefully it wouldn’t automatically lead me down a peach road.
About Case Coffee Roasters & The Reko Kochere
Case Coffee Roasters is a small batch coffee roaster located in beautiful Ashland, OR. All of their coffee is sourced from their 4 favorite regions of the world: Kenya, Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Colombia. Case seeks out seasonal coffee that is sweet, clean, and complex.
Grown in the Kochere district of Yirgacheffe, the Ethiopia Reko is a fully washed coffee grown at an elevation of 1850-2100masl.
General Notes and Observations
Overall, I found this coffee to be unlike many Ethiopian coffees I’ve tried in the past in that the blueberry aroma and flavor is merely one small (and often times, inexistent) element of the coffee’s overall profile.
Just like the Kenya Gachatha AA, the Ethiopia Reko was a very fruity coffee. It didn’t have as much complexity as the Kenya Gachatha AA, but it made up for it in terms of its balance, acidity, and body.
I was fortunate to only botch a few brews with the Reko, otherwise it was consistently good across brew methods without a ton of profile changes.
Roast: “Full City”
Aroma: butter, milk chocolate, blueberry, green tea, vanilla, almond, marzipan, brown sugar, floral.
The whole bean aroma was quite nice. Reminded me of stepping into a bakery and smelling a bunch of buttery croissants fresh out of the oven. It even had a savory element to its aroma, almost like tomato soup.
As brewed coffee the complexity in the aroma really came out. Particularly the vanilla, almond, and brown sugar.
I got to brew with pretty much my entire coffee maker lineup, which was awesome. Even better, I didn’t waste any coffee dialing in my grinds. Like the Kenya Gachatha AA, the Reko did best when extracted at higher temperatures. My one awful cup came from my Brazen Plus.
Initially, I thought the issue was the water temperature (202˚F). This could have been a partial culprit, but the main issue was channeling. You can see that there were two major divots in the coffee bed on the right side…I’ll have to look into what caused this.
For black coffee, I got my best results starting at around 208˚F
For espresso, just under 200˚F got me great shots. More on that later.
My first experiences with the Reko Kochere were through multiple brews with the AeroPress.
My first brew was with the standard method, 20 grams of coffee and 250 grams of water. My brew temp was at 200˚F and a medium grind (#47) on my Breville Smart Grinder Pro. Total brew time was 1:30.
Flavor Notes: lavender, peach, smoke, orange.
Damn it, after just one brew I already ended up on the peach road. I do think that I tasted peach, but who knows if I would have arrived at this flavor note without Case’s notes steering me in this direction.
This cup was heavy on the acidity and not as balanced as some of my future brews, but it did bring out some unique flavors.
Overall, this was a very sweet cup of coffee with a savory aroma and smoky aftertaste.
I pulled a couple shots and they extracted great without having to dial in my grinder.
The first shot was a major fruit bomb. Sweet citrus mixed with chocolate. Very clean and complex in terms of both aroma and flavor.
Brew Parameters: 20 grams of coffee, 30 grams of water (yield), 199.6˚F, #12 grind, 0:36 second pull.
Flavor Notes: lemon, cranberry, cherry, milk chocolate.
The second shot I pulled was even better.
Brown sugar, cinnamon, and curry aromas.
Flavor was less acidic and balanced more by the milk chocolate flavor.
Brew Parameters: 20 grams of coffee, 30 grams of water (yield), 199.2˚F, #12 grind, 0:40 second pull.
Flavor Notes: lemon, cherry, milk chocolate.
I brewed with the Kalita Wave twice.
The first time, I had decent results but nothing to go wild about. The second time around was a little bit better.
Nothing major in terms of aroma. I was mostly picking up vanilla.
The acidity was less-pronounced when compared to the AeroPress, but it wasn’t by much. The body however, was much heavier.
This time, I did pick up blueberry in the coffee’s flavor, as well as marzipan/almond.
Other Brew Methods
BTW, I’ve never used the word “channeling” when talking about standard coffee brewing before. Basically what I mean to say is that the coffee was totally under-extracted and thus, very weak.
Overall, the ratings below are what I thought about the coffee across the different rating categories I’ve been using. To learn more about how I review coffee, go here.
Super fruity. Teetering on sour at times, but I found it to be delicious across the board.
Very smooth, and overall pleasant mouthfeel. No dryness. Not much in terms of lingering flavor though.
The aroma frequently changed for me. I found this to be what gave the Reko most of its complexity. Completely different from whole bean to brewed form. Could have offered a bit more consistency when it came to the Reko’s flavor.
Medium bodied and always pleasant. Had great mouthfeel as an espresso especially.
Sweet and very balanced. Not super complex, but I didn’t mind so much.
If you like a fruity cup of coffee with chocolate balance, I highly recommend the Ethiopia Reko Kochere. It’s versatile in that it can be brewed across multiple brew methods with great, consistent results.
I’d also recommend it to those who are tired of drinking Ethiopian coffee that lacks balance and/or overwhelms with blueberry. The Reko is a unique Ethiopian coffee in my opinion because Blueberry wasn’t one of its major flavors.
I wouldn’t recommend this coffee to someone who lives and breathes dark roast coffee. While this is pretty medium in terms of its roast profile, it is probably too acidic for those who are accustomed to dark roasts.
To give the Reko Kochere a try, head on over to Case Coffee Roasters for a bag. Shipping is free here in the U.S.