Ethiopia Ardi is an exceptional natural processed coffee from the Sidama region of Southern Ethiopia, and over the past few years, this coffee has gained a bit of a cult following among specialty roasters in the US. It’s certainly a perennial favorite here at the Table.
In October 2009, Samuel Demisse read about the discovery of a 4.4 million year old human fossil found in Ethiopia. He was very fascinated by the news and decided to brand the Guji coffee he was cupping at the time under the name of “Ardi” as a tribute.
Demisse is the sole importer of coffees in this region and has a lot of family that works at the farm level to ensure that Ardi is picked and processed to the most exacting standards. Approximately 1500 farmers contributed to this year’s crop of Ardi, and 200 women carefully manage the coffee’s drying process, removing over- or under-ripe cherries and constantly rotating the cherries to ensure evenness. Because of his close ties to the community and to the coffee, he is more able to purchase coffee and work directly with mills outside of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange.
Ethiopia Ardi also placed first in the Taste of Harvest Competition in all of east Africa.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Ethiopia Ardi, from Sunergos Coffee in Louisville, Kentucky. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Kilenso Moconissa, Sidama, Ethiopia
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1850 – 1950 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
The aroma of this Ethiopia Ardi is everything I hoped it would be. It is sweet, fragrant, soft, with scents of sugars, angel food cake, strawberry, vanilla, rose… Basically, it smells like strawberry short cake.
Taking my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, the taste follows the nose. This is a medium-bodied coffee with a soft, creamy texture. It presents my taste buds with pretty much everything you’d expect from a natural Ardi – strawberry, blueberry (though not nearly as potent as the strawberry), raspberry, dark chocolate backbone, vanilla and honey tones, flowers… Pretty standard fare, really.
As the cup cools, it presents me with a few more fruit notes – apple, red grape… What I’m most impressed by, though, is that soft, plush angel food cake taste and texture, though. Paired up with the strawberry milk, honeysuckle, and refined sugar notes makes for a fine, sophisticated, and decadent sweetness that rounds out the finish of the cup.
Medium body; plush mouthfeel; malic acidity; dry finish.
As I mentioned in the preamble, Ethiopia Ardi is a favorite here at the Table; and for good reason – it’s almost always a delicious coffee. Sunergos Coffee’s spin on it was certainly no exception; in fact, it might have been the best version of the classic I’ve tried yet.