My Ethiopian coffee binge continues this week with a good one from Olympia Coffee Roasting Co: the Ethiopia Konga Yirgacheffe.
This was yet another citrusy coffee with mostly milk chocolate finishes and some very interesting notes in between (stuff I haven't picked up on before). More on that later…
About Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. & The Konga Yirgacheffe
Olympia Coffee Roasting Company is a direct trade coffee roaster located in Olympia, Washington. By “direct trade” Olympia is emphasizing that they buy their coffee directly from the best producers/farmers they can find. While it isn't a revolutionary concept, it is certainly the best approach next to the producer roasting the beans themselves (not very practical considering the international travel times of coffee beans).
Konga is a large coffee cooperative in the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia. This is at least the third coffee I've tried from this cooperative, and it hasn't disappointed me yet. The coffee itself is a traditional Ethiopian heirloom varietal grown at altitudes of more than 6,000 feet above sea level.
This particular coffee has been responsible for various accolades that Olympia has nicely outlined here.
General Notes and Observations
Since this coffee is wet processed, one might expect the typical blueberry notes of wet-processed Ethiopian coffees. The blueberry however, just like Case's Reko Kochere was pretty ephemeral.
This is a bright coffee with savory notes in the middle and chocolate notes at the finish.
Roast: “Full City”
Aroma: milk chocolate, cinnamon, almond, vanilla.
The whole bean aroma reminded me of walking into a chocolate shop. I also got some of the typical aromas I pick up when the coffee was brewed, but nothing too complex.
As I mentioned in the video, I moved pretty swiftly through this coffee and didn't go nuts with the number of brew methods used. I had the best carafe of Chemex I've probably ever had though, and this was enough reason to stop experimenting with other brew methods.
I continued my on-going experiment of higher starting temperatures, and so far it seems to be working well for me using water right off the boil.
I didn't get around to brewing with the AeroPress until after I recorded the video review.
It was smooth and not nearly as cytrusy as the other cups I brewed. Really nice balance, but nothing that was really noteworthy.
Flavor Notes: no notes recorded
I pulled a few shots without having to dial my grinder in to a different setting than what I was using with the Reko Kochere.
The best shot had a strong lemon flavor with traces of tootsie roll and a taint of wood.
Brew Parameters: 20 grams of coffee, 30 grams of water (yield), 201˚F, #12 grind, 0:30 second pull.
Flavor Notes: lemon, tootsie roll, wood, dark chocolate.
My Brazen Plus performed well with the Konga. The aftertaste was smokier than my other brews, but overall it was a solid pot of coffee to have on standby.
Brew Parameters: 40 grams of coffee, 720 grams of water, 205˚F, 1 minute pre-infusion.
As mentioned earlier, this was probably the best Chemex brew I ever had.
The citrus was sweet, the blueberry was ever-so-slightly present, and the aftertaste was dark chocolate.
Get the brew recipe I used here.
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.
Heavy citrus that was difficult to pinpoint beyond “lemon”. When it worked, it really worked.
The aftertaste was consistently chocolate, and neither bitter nor dry in any case. Balanced every cup nicely.
Nothing really unique about the aroma, which isn't to say it wasn't good. Still, I'm starting to question my nose.
Medium bodied but teetering more towards the heavy side. Pleasant mouthfeel that worked great as espresso and manually brewed coffee.
Sweet, smooth, balanced, and sometimes a little complex. I picked up garlic and onion, as well as some other savory notes that were on the tip of my tongue but quickly faded.
The citrus was brilliant when brewed at its best.
Just like the Reko, this was yet another unique Ethiopian coffee in that it had some flavors you wouldn't expect, and lacked the ones you may be accustomed too.
The other two Konga's I've tried were very heavy on the blueberry in terms of flavor and aroma, so I was surprised to not find too much of it in any of my cups.
If you aren't used to heavy citrus notes in your coffee, then I probably would look elsewhere unless you're feeling adventurous. But really, I think there isn't much to lose here because this is another really high quality coffee from a great region and knowledgable roaster.