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Roast level: Light
Flavors: Bright, ripe, sweet, syrupy blueberry with notes of black cherry. When we tasted this Worka Natural side by side with another very high-quality natural from Yirgacheffe we noted excellent mouthfeel and body of this lot.
Producer Notes: This coffee comes from the Worka Cooperative in the Gedeb region of Yirgacheffe. This coffee comes from the same cooperative as our Gold Medal Winning Gedeb Lot 002 and in the same region of Gedeb as our other Gold Medal winner, Banko. It has been a fine year for coffees from this region.
The term “natural process” refers to the steps that the coffee goes through to remove the coffee seeds (commonly known as beans) from the ripe cherry. This complex process has a huge impact on flavor and nowhere is that difference more clear than in coffees from Ethiopia. A coffee seed picked from the same shrub can exhibit wildly different flavors depending on how the coffee is handled after picking. A washed coffee, where the coffee’s skin and mucilage is removed immediately after picking, will have a light, tea like body, and exhibit flavors of stone fruit and florals. Naturally processed coffees will have a heavier body and flavors of berries, such as blueberry or strawberry.
The answer to why these coffees taste so different is the process of fermentation that the coffee goes through before it is bagged as a green coffee and roasted. Almost all coffee goes through some fermentation after harvest. For washed processed coffee, after picking and pulping, cherries are placed in concrete tanks from times that range from hours to days. All of this fermentation is wild, meaning that it is not controlled by innoculation. In natural processed coffees the only method that the farmer has to control fermentation is the rate at which the coffees dry and how carefully the cherries are attended to during the drying process. Great natural process coffees, such as this Worka natural, are carefully sorted and raked on their drying beds to ensure even drying and to prevent rot. Underripe or undersize cherries are also removed, bringing out clearer berry flavors. An exciting aspect of specialty coffee is how little we know about what happens during this crucial fermentation process. Our palates eagerly await the results of new research in controlled fermentations. We hope this research can unlock more flavor mysteries in coffee.
A cup of coffee is practically a religious experience for us. We revere it, we crave it and we anticipate brewing and drinking it every day. Every coffee has a story, a history of soil, people and culture that make each one special. And it’s that combination that keeps us curious to learn about and eager to experience the next cup.
Even here in Northern California’s wine country, we believe that coffee has no culinary peer. Over 400 flavor compounds make up the unique aroma and taste that we experience when we smell and drink it. It’s that moment of astonishment at the cupping table when we crack the crust of a coffee with the right combination of those 400 compounds that drives us to find the best and highest quality lots available anywhere.
At Black Oak Coffee Roasters, we seek to express the true origin character of our coffees. Origin character is what tells the coffee’s story most vividly. We look for ripe, voluptuous sweetness and body to carry the coffee’s personality over the palate. And we want our coffee to linger in your head after you’ve tasted it, like a passage from your favorite novel.