This month, we come back to Melbourne with our good friends, St. ALi Coffee Roasters and their Ethiopia Barkume Uraga Tome. They’ve provided a two-for-one— subscribers receive 50g of both the washed and natural process of this coffee. No matter which processing method you prefer, we’re sure you’ll enjoy their contrasting sweetness, florality, and clarity.
You can sign up to receive other rare, unique, and special coffees just like this when you join our Superlatives subscription, or just purchase a one-off bag.
About the coffee:
Variety: Mixed Heirloom Varieties
Process: Fully Washed and Natural
Drying: Sun dried
Farm location and characteristics:
Producer: Tadesse Edema
Washing station: Tome Washing Station
Altitude: 1900-2300 masl
Lucy Ward, St. ALi Green Buyer provided some information about this special lot of coffees, and talks more about her green buying philosophies in the video below. St. ALi owner, Salavatore Malatesta opens the video talking about the company and its place in Melbourne coffee culture. Thanks Lucy and Sal!
The farm & producer:
During our extensive evaluation of this year’s Ethiopian crop, the Uraga woreda (or district) produced some of our highest scoring lots, within the context of an already exceptional harvest. Uraga sits between Shakiso and Hambela in Southern Ethiopia. Uraga has been showing up on our cupping table a lot in the last few years always offering us exceptionally high quality coffee absolutely bursting with flavour and complexity.
Tadesse Edema is the master of these two lots of coffee and a pioneer among producers in Uraga. He built the Tabe Burka washing station 12 years ago, being one of the first to build one in the region. Tadesse then built the Tome washing station seven years ago on the other side of the ridge, facing the river that divides Hambela from Uraga.
Tadesse is also seen as a community leader. He’s built schools and roads in the region and works with over 300 producers to improve quality. In addition to washing stations, he owns two farms — one in Shakiso and another in Anasora.
During the ten years of ECX restriction, Tadesse had little choice but to deliver his lots to the regional warehouse where traceability was obscured, though these deliveries no doubt pleased the buyers of his G1 Guji. This year, with new regulations allowing transparency through the supply chain, Tadesse is finally able deliver his world class coffees directly to Australia.
These two lots were harvested in January so they are nice and fresh. The washed process coffee was fermented for around 24 to 36 hours. The natural was dried over 15 to 18 days. You’ll experience jasmine-like florality, candied citrus, and a full, buttery body with the washed, while the natural tastes like white sugar and peaches. Compare them and let us know which one you like more!
About St. ALi:
When the Barista Hustle team cupped these coffees with Lucy, we used the Melbourne water recipe with one major difference between two lineups: one made with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and the other with potassium bicarbonate. The coffees cupped with the potassium bicarb water outshined the other lineup — the flavours were more pronounced, seemingly sweeter than everything else on the table. Especially the two Ethiopians. You’ll find our recommended water recipe for this coffee below and instructions for making a concentrate from potassium bicarbonate.
Potassium bicarbonate concentrate recipe:
First, you need to get some food grade potassium bicarbonate. We bought ours from eBay, but you can get it reasonably easily from Amazon, or just searching online. The formula for potassium bicarbonate is “KHCO3” which may help with your search.
The technique to make your concentrate is the same as our other concentrates found here: get your potassium bicarbonate, make sure you have 1L of DI water, scales accurate to two decimal points, and a bottle that can hold 1L of liquid.
From there dissolve 1.66g potassium bicarbonate in 1L of your DI water — this is your new “buffer” concentrate or “alkalinity”. Make sure you label it clearly!
Where to from here?
Just a reminder that like our other two concentrates, this one is also designed to be super easy to experiment with.
This new concentrate is made so 1g of concentrate equals 1mg/L of bicarbonate concentration, after dilution in 1L of DI water MINUS the concentrate you’ve added to the DI water.
“So how does that look?”
Melbourne water recipe:
- 14g Buffer (sodium bicarbonate OR potassium bicarbonate)
- 5.7g Mg
- 980.3g DI water
- (1000g total)
Whenever our recipes call for buffer, add that amount in grams from EITHER your sodium bicarbonate concentrate OR your potassium bicarbonate concentrate.
We like to use a 1:16 brew ratio for these coffees but if you like a bit more strength a 1:15 is tasty too. We prefer the Hario V60 for its clean, elegant finish. Our brew method is not flashy. Keep it simple and aim for TDS of 1.35% or slightly higher for a clean and transparent, yet rich brew. Use a fairly coarse grind setting to get maximum deliciousness.
We begin our brews with a bloom that is roughly twice the volume of the grind weight. For this coffee, a light agitation and resting the bloom for 40 seconds from the initial pour seems to work well.
After the bloom stage of the brew is complete (40s), pour in clockwise circular motion making sure to cause turbulence while you brew. This will help to increase the strength of your brew. Pour in intervals, with a maximum of 3 pours (after bloom).
Brew with a water temperature at about 92C degrees and try to use water with a total hardness of around 80 ppm. This should bring out all the awesome complexity of these two coffees.
Check out the brew guide video below with our very own, Michelle Johnson, who brews both of these coffees with a slight variance from the St. ALi method, yet achieves the same delicious result.
Let us know how you go in the comments below!
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