Blueprint Coffee co-founder Mike Marquard states that the Dimtu station in Guji, Ethiopia is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Set inside a lush tropical forest, the station stretches nearly as far as the eye can see with elevated drying tables full of washed and natural coffees. Colorful tarps, which adorn the tables to protect the drying coffees from rains or intense sun, make the station appear like a rainbow in the middle of the forest. Women sort freshly delivered coffee while singing. Once sorted, men haul it to a new table to begin its journey through drying. This natural lot is fruity, sweet, and a little funky. It will also make up a portion of the next version of Penrose.
Team taste notes: peach, grape, cherry, tea, citrus, chocolate, silky
Tariku and Aman Adinew are tied to Ethiopian coffee through family history and personal ambition. After spending time in the United States finishing high school, college, and gaining some work experience, they returned home to Ethiopia to pursue coffee. Aman was first to return to Ethiopia and served as the first Coffee COO of the Ethiopian Commodities Exchange. In 2009, he started looking for land to establish a coffee estate, and eventually convinced his brother, Tariku, to return to help operate their new company, METAD.
The Hambela Estate at Alaka, which is in the Hambela Woreda of the Guji Zone, was their first endeavor. They exported coffee for the first time in 2013. Since then, they have been working with local outgrowers in Hambela while also cultivating the land at their estate to prepare to harvest coffee. Their first viable crop was harvested this last October through January. Over the last years, they have also been busy establishing a second Hambela Estate at Bishan Fugu, as well as two collection stations at Benti Nenka and Buku. All METAD stations buy from local outgrowers, while the estates now produce some of their own coffee. METAD is expanding beyond Hambela with operations in the Gedeb Woreda of the Gedeo Zone. They have two collection stations at Beriti and Udeyi with plans to cultivate coffee near the Udeyi station.
Understanding the demand for traceability and sustainability from roasters like us, METAD has committed to outgrower education programs, gender equity within their workforce, and the education and social empowerment of the communities around their estates and stations. Particular practices of note within Ethiopia is their second payment to local outgrowers, which occurs 3-6 months after harvest and helps these growers survive in the economically barren offseason. METAD also employs Penagos Ecopulpers at their stations that prepare coffee using the washed process. This greatly reduces contaminants from entering the local water source and also increases efficiency at the stations. Their natural coffees are carefully sorted and dried with strict oversight of how much coffee is dried on each raised table. This practice promotes consistent drying and a better tasting cup of coffee.
Team taste notes: berry, grape, chocolate, lemon
The family of Ture Waji owns land in the eastern part of Guji around the town of Shakiso that is rich in natural resources and metals. They could choose to mine all this land for what is below the soil, but the family is dedicated to the sustainability and fertility of the soils of these high lands. To offset what they have mined and preserve the fertility of Guji’s soils, the family operates Guji Highlands PLC and Mormora Estate, both heavy hitters when it comes to quality coffee from the eastern part of Guji. These coffee operations not only promote coffee quality, but they offer competitive pay for farmers and station workers, are organized to organic standards, and focus energy on the reforestation of Guji with native trees.
In January, I was able to visit the Mormora Estate, Guji Highlands Allona collection station, and the Guji Highlands farm. All three were incredible operations that spoke to the Waji family’s sense of community and sustainability. All of their sites featured staff that was eager to visit with guests, share in a meal, and work together on tasks regardless of gender. It was rare to find this sense of community and shared effort on my trip in Ethiopia, and it attracted me to these coffees before I even had a chance to taste them. At the Allona station, the Waji family buys coffee cherry from around 80 surrounding small farms. There, I witnessed both organization and care for washed coffees I did not see elsewhere in Ethiopia. The station workers delicately washed the coffee and allowed it to dry for a day under shade before exposing it to direct sun. The result was beautiful parchment without any cracking. This extra step causes the coffee to take 3-4 days longer to dry fully, but the result is a much more consistent product.
Back in the capital of Addis Ababa, I was able to taste the washed coffees and found beautiful notes of citrus, stone fruit, jasmine, tea, and honey. To further preserve quality, our importing partners at CCS had Heleanna Georgalis and her dedicated team at the Moplaco dry mill in Addis sort and clean this coffee before loading it on a container to the USA. At long last, the coffee has arrived and tastes amazing. We hope to continue sourcing coffee from Guji Highlands for years to come.
Team taste notes: grapefruit, stone fruit, honey, sweet tea
We are craftspeople dedicated to exhibiting the qualities of one of the most flavorful beverages in the world. What we attempt to create and construct are flavor experiences that are balanced, intoxicating, and special. While our single origin offerings exhibit qualities that are delicious and complete by themselves, blending can create something unique that none of our coffees offer by themselves. We are inspired by French wine and cocktails like the Sazerac. By adding a small amount of five quality ingredients (sugar, bitters, lemon, absinthe, ice), a serving of perfectly good whiskey becomes a different, yet delicious, taste experience than that offered by any neat pour.
We are excited to offer Tektōn as a compliment to our single origin offerings. It matches the integrity of those offerings by remaining a seasonal coffee with a transparent supply chain. We embrace the future insight and taste experiences Tektōn will provide.
Tektōn v14 combines work from our Guatemalan and Ethiopian origin partnerships. San Carlos, Guatemala is one of the coffees we source through Los Volcanes. This washed lot will make up 70% of the blend. The remaining 30% is washed coffee from the Allona washing station in Ethiopia. This is owned and operated by the Guji Highlands PLC, one of Ethiopia’s most organized and innovative coffee companies. The Allona will also be available as a single origin offering soon.
Team taste notes: raspberry, orange, peach, cream, syrup, refined sugar
PENROSE (named after the triangle) is our “house” espresso. We feel the perfect espresso is an impossible goal, but we still strive to create it. PENROSE is our ever-updated offering in the quest for the perfect espresso. While the seasonal components at times may be single-origin, and at others a blend, it is always perfect for your hopper.
PENROSE also does well in the brewer – look for notes of lasting sweetness and heavy body, with a subdued acidity.
We’ve had v19 of this espresso blend targeted for some months now. It combines 80% of washed San Carlos, Guatemala (the same as will be in Tektōn v14) and 20% Natural Dimtu, Ethiopia. We used San Carlos in a version of Penrose last year and have been thoroughly enjoying the Dimtu as a single origin this year. Expect exciting shots!
Team taste notes: berry, dried cherry, chocolate mousse, lime, orange
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