Verve Coffee Roasters - Ethiopia Duromina$18.75
- Nice floral and citrus notes
- Complex aroma
- Consistent across brew methods
- Minimal body
- Limited sweetness
- Difficult to dial-in
- Unbalanced flavor
This week's coffee review is the Ethiopia Duromina from Verve Coffee Roasters, who are quickly becoming one of the biggest names in the world of specialty coffee.
The coffee gets its name directly from its producers, the Duromina Cooperative, out of the Gomma woreda micro-region of Ethiopia.
About Verve Coffee Roasters
Verve Coffee Roasters got its start in Santa Cruz, CA and has expanded to 6 additional shops (at the time of this review) in Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, and Tokyo.
Their shops are beautiful, and their coffee is allegedly very good. I say “allegedly” because until this review, I had never actually had a single cup of coffee from Verve, which is ironic considering I went to college in Santa Cruz (Go Slugs!).
Anyways, my only other experience with Verve before this was at Coffee Con 2014 in SF, where two of their employees gave a really fun talk about how to cup coffee. Neither of them took themselves too seriously, which was a breath of fresh air considering how easy it is for people to be pretentious about something like coffee.
About The Producers (Duromina Cooperative)
According to Verve, the Duromina Cooperative was established in 2010 by 113 residents of a small neighborhood in the Oromia state of Ethiopia called Boto. Duromina translates to “improve their lives” in Affan Oromo.
And since forming the cooperative in 2010, the farmers lives have certainly improved with the acquisition of their own wet mill and the opportunity to sell their coffee directly to buyers like Verve and therefore reap more of the benefits for their high-quality coffee.
You can read more about the Duromina Cooperative on the Verve site. Click the “FarmLevel Story”.
General Notes & Observations
Producers: Duromina Cooperative
Variety: Ethiopia Heirloom
Processing method: Wet Processed
Farm elevation: 1900-2100 masl
Aroma: Floral, Coca Cola, fudge
Roaster tasting notes: Juniper, Pomegranate, lime
Coffee Concierge tasting notes: Lemon, milk chocolate, tangerine, vanilla
I mostly used drip coffee brewing methods with the Ethiopia Duromina, but the results were all over the place from brew-to-brew. These are the coffee makers I used:
For the most part, I struck out when brewing the Duromina with the AeroPress. The first two cups of AeroPress were over-extracted with a super-dry mouthfeel.
I used the inverted method with brew times anywhere between 2 and 4 minutes, medium-fine grind, water right off-boil.
It wasn't until I switched grinders and reduced the water temperature to 205˚F that the AeroPress brought out something drinkable in the Duromina.
Instead of lemon and fudge notes, the coffee had a floral aroma and flavor with sweet tangerine undertones
My auto drip coffee maker, the Brazen Plus, got very little action with the Duromina.
The coffee was tainted with paper notes from the filter, and that boring lemon flavor was the only other thing I could really pick up on.
The Chemex brought out more smokey notes and less fruit than the other brew methods I used. Of course, this was just one brew and it was a 5-minute extraction to boot.
I probably got the best results with the Kalita Wave out of all the brew methods I used with the Duromina.
Peach and floral notes surfaced alongside the typical lemon flavor. The aftertaste was a little bit bitter, which probably means I over-extracted the one cup I brewed with the Kalita, but it was still a pretty good cup of coffee.
In edition to the floral and lemon notes that consistently surfaced, I also picked up some peach flavor when I brewed with the Kalita Wave.
Espresso via MyPressi
I only pulled one shot of espresso with my MyPressi twist, but my guess is that it was under-extracted given how bright the flavor was. There were some dark chocolate undertones in the aftertaste, but I would have preferred the Duromina as espresso if its flavor profile wasn't so heavy with citrus.
If you’re new here, you can check out how I rate whole bean coffee here.
This Duromina had high acidity that I wouldn't characterize as good or bad. Not complex, sour, or sweet.
I didn't pick up any notable aftertaste when drinking the Duromina. At times the predominant lemon flavor was followed up by dark chocolate notes, but for the most part the Duromina was quiet in this category.
The aroma was pretty complex and delicious. As ground coffee, I picked up apricot and butter aromas. As brewed coffee, I picked up Coca-Cola, fudge, and floral aromas.
It was tough to brew a balanced cup of coffee with the Duromina given the high acidity. I rarely made a cup of coffee that had the floral, citrus, and chocolate notes all-together at once.
I found the body of the Duromina to be pretty thin, which is mostly attributed to the heavy rotation of drip brewers I used.
Despite the overwhelming lemon acidity across brew methods, this coffee did feature a nice variety of flavor notes under the right circumstances. Tangerine, vanilla, floral, chocolate, and peach flavors presented themselves at different times, helping to keep this coffee interesting.
To be completely honest, the flavors of this Ethiopian coffee were not my favorite. There were times when it really hit the spot, but considering I had to persistently work for it from brew-to-brew makes me think the coffee's good flavor is more nurture and less nature.
I missed the mark a lot with this coffee on both ends of the extraction spectrum. For drip coffee, I had to work a bit more to get what I wanted out of it. Of course, if you're happy with a strictly lemon flavor, you wouldn't have to do much extra work when brewing this coffee.
Hard to call this a sweet coffee given its flavor profile, but with floral and tangerine notes popping up here and there I can't say that the sweetness was completely lacking.
I didn't find a lot of inconsistency across brew methods even though I still think the Duromina is probably best when brewed via drip methods.
I think this is the kind of coffee that has characteristics that shine through regardless of the way it is brewed.
So there you have it, the Ethiopia Duromina from Verve Coffee Roasters. A bright, clean, and at times, complex coffee.
If I'm being completely honest here, the Duromina didn't wow me enough to make me want to buy it again or recommend it to you guys.
I'm sure there are plenty of folks who would enjoy it, but considering this year's crop has come and gone, it doesn't even matter! Maybe I'll give it another try next year to see if it can redeem itself.
I figure I can't get any worse at brewing coffee by that point, so maybe the coffee will magically start tasting better with less potential for user error? One can only hope…