A coffee with very low caffeine content, enjoy plenty of it at any time of the day, taking turns with an excellent tea. As if they were the dogs and cats of your house. Jasmine dominates the nose, but a scent of milk chocolate keeps it company when grinding. Once in the cup, a burst of anise surprises the nose (here in Marche it's common to "correct" the coffee with Mistrà, an anise-based liqueur). Finally, on the palate: lots, lots, and lots of tropical fruits, mango, peach and much more. Not all at once, but one at a time: individual and distinguishable, like in a carousel. And as one sip follows the other, and the temperature gradually drops, closing notes of melon appear.
Ethiopia, the most inland part of it.
Aricha is the name of the coffee processing station to which thousands of farmers belong, each of them owning on average half a hectare of plantations. This is where coffee was born, and the plantations of this region - Yirgacheffe (or Yirga Chefe) - are rich in coffea arabica cultivars: distinctive, powerful, and very ancient, many varieties still to be identified. That's why they are called Heirloom Ethiopian Varieties, as if to say a mix of cultivars from the purest Ethiopian agricultural heritage and traditions.
Aricha, 8 kilometers away from Yirga Chefe Town, is a coffee washing station, but this particular coffee is not washed. Instead, it is a natural.
The freshly picked and selected coffee cherries are quickly immersed in tanks full of water to discard those that remain afloat (rotten), and then immediately left to dry in the sun, sometimes spread on suspended nets, sometimes on sheets directly on the ground. The coffee beans remain in contact with their pulp throughout the drying phase (from 10 days to 3 weeks) and steal some of that sugary load that the pulp carries with it.
Hell of a coffee! The beans are not that large and at first glance, raw, it'll make you think well, I've seen better ones. Then you start dealing with it, roasting some to size it up, and you quickly discover that you are playing with one of the densest coffee you've ever roasted. A small bean weighs as much as two large beans of most arabica. Imagine roasting such a tough guy! It won't be enough to set an aggressive profile, you have to give it all you can - avoiding the risk of boiling it - and lead it to a level of roasting that is still very clear, but literally spectacular. The guiding note that we found in this coffee is a scent of jasmine, to be preserved and enhanced without drowning it.