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coffee@home: Stumptown’s Ethoipian Koratie

Beans: Ethiopian (Organic) Sidamo Koratie
Roaster: Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Rating: 3+

I asked the guys behind the counter at Four Barrel Coffee for something floral. Without hesitation, they pointed to the Ethiopian Koratie. That sounded good to me. I had read some pretty glowing reviews of this stuff on Bean Chaser and Chemically Imbalanced. Of course, that particular roast came from Crema Roasters and not Stumptown.

Stumptown’s version is very nice. I detected some strawberry, like you might find in a fruity, light white wine as well as raisins and milk chocolate. Most impressive was the soft and silky mouthfeel. This medium-bodied coffee’s floral notes are more cherry blossom than a thick, heady wildflower.

Perhaps I’m being unfair – it’s that expectations vs. reality thing and the fact that I didn’t cup blind – but I wanted more from this coffee. It worked well as a French Press, but the flavors and aromas were incredibly subtle – certainly not a “wow” in the cup. The milder qualities of this coffee were mostly lost as a pour-over drip.

I wasn’t able to test whether the subtleties I encountered might work – might explode – when brewed as espresso so I’m left wondering instead whether this coffee was roasted a shade too dark, muting its complexities.  I also have to consider that I don’t fully appreciate subtle coffees.

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5 comments to coffee@home: Stumptown’s Ethoipian Koratie

  • billburge

    I hate you for doing this. Now I have a blog to read of San Francisco coffee goodness so that when I’m thinking about blue bottle, and ritual, and four barrel, and all the rocking coffee I had a few weeks ago on my vacation, I can come here and weep.

  • bz

    i’ll be the first to admit (and soon will, on the blog) that the korate/koratie is incredibly enigmatic. the days i have struggled to figure out what was going on outnumber the days i have actually recaptured that berry-stew-smeared-with-cream experience.

    part of this is because i’m now home-roasting it. which has led to a related discovery: it is incredibly sensitive to rest time, post-roast. changes character by the day.

    all of which makes me enjoy exploring. i’m getting close to home-roasted awesomeness, mostly through the following: roasting with a “double spike” in temperature, not a steady temp increase. roasting very light, it tastes like grass and tomato vine right out of the roaster. a week later, the berries show up. it’s startling.

    so who knows how the stumpies are roasting it? and what your rest times are like?

    all that said, i’m willing to accept blame for overhyping the stuff. as enigmatic as it is, i’m increasingly aware that the chances others will get the same epiphany are slimmer than usual. context is everything. 😉

    on the upside, i discovered this blog.

  • I’m happy you both found this blog, even if it does induce weeping. Hopefully it’s from a coffee epiphany and not pining away for the bay. Here’s a tissue!

    As far as the Stumpies, I doubt they’d care to comment on roasting profiles – or would they? As far as the rest time, I believe I first tasted this coffee 3 days off the roast and consumed it slightly past the 10-14 expiration zone. While there was some general muting of it’s complexities over time, I didn’t notice a huge change in taste or aroma over this period. That could have something to do with my vacuum storage method (small batches in Reynolds vacuum bags), or just something inherent in the coffee.

  • Steve Peel

    Your experience is interesting. I’m in UK and a friend of mine brought a bag of this home from a recent trip to SF.

    We cupped it blind with a few other coffees and this one shone out with huge blueberry flavour, big body and a general thugishness. We commented on it tasting like a blueberry cordial, almost artificial in it’s concentration.

    I didn’t discover any hidden subtleties but I absolutely loved the scale of this coffee. Big sweetness and big fruit. Just wish I could get it here.

  • Oddly, enough, I’ve gone back to some vacuum packed, frozen bags of this stuff from the original batch and I’m getting more blueberry out of it, especially in the espresso. My current theory is that this coffee takes a bit more rest time to reach its full potential – just a theory. Still, the belated blueberry I got didn’t compare to some other berry bombs out there like the Misty Valley coffees I’ve had from some other prominent roasters. It’s still a lot more creamy and other-berry-like.

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