Amazingly enough, today was my first time tasting a Novo roasted coffee brewed by traditional Ethiopian methods. For those of you who don’t know, coffee in Ethiopia is finely ground with mortar and pestle and then boiled in a traditional clay pot called a jabena. In the same way that the American coffee market has offered little to entertain the nose until recently, Ethiopians have had mostly the worst coffee stay in the country (coffee rejected for export is pumped into the local market) and this coffee is roasted fast and is heavily scorched on traditional clay pans. So traditional jabena brews normally taste very similar – dark and bitter (often laden with defect undertones that can be sensed from the relatively underdone compounds in the center of the seeds).
I had really expected that the boiling would kill flavor and aroma – but I have to share with you the opposite outcome: The Hache smelled and tasted complex and incredible with its characteristic vitamin E capsule-like oily mouthfeel with great, slight berry fruit intermingled with sweet grass. Even the coffee’s flaws came out – on cooling, one could sense the age of the coffee and the slight quakery elements due to a few unripe cherries on initial harvest.
I’m floored. The body was heavier than a press, the acidity was juicy, and there was high aromatic intensity – although deeper, like the aromatics in a reduction sauce.