Esmeralda

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Postby Aleco on Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:24 am

I know Jeff is planning to craft a respone to this but I can't hold off on adding my two cents any longer. J, I won't steal all of your thunder so please fire away with your take on each of those coffees.

So yes, Peter, Wondo is that special Yirgacheffe. It's been intriguing to change the ordering of the geishas and wondo on the table from cupping to cupping. They are 4 different flavor profiles that, to me, share 1 distinct commonality; an effervescent, super sweet floral nature in the aroma. Can jasmine be candied? Changing the order has made finding new nuansce easier, more distinguish'able, in each of them.

I've heard the yirga comparison with the geishas for years now and have, at times, struggled to digest it. Now I get it. My issue with it may go back to different sub-regions having different flavor profiles, as Miguel mentioned. Wondo, from Gedeo, has plenty of fleshy fruit, yellow fruit (peach, apricto, mango, etc) if you will, flavors that differ from the citric and bergamoty profiles that the geishas have. But again it's the sweet floral aroma that has my nose linking these coffees to each other. The Wondo has geisha on my mind.
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Postby malachi on Fri Aug 10, 2007 2:31 pm

R Miguel Meza wrote:Moscato is definately a descriptor I have used to describe Esmeralda but i believe the credit goes to Chris Tacy for orginally mentioning this characteristic.


Oh do I wish I could take credit for this one - but as always I just popularized something someone else came up with.

Credit goes to Duane.
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Postby malachi on Fri Aug 10, 2007 2:38 pm

SL28ave wrote:
Is Wondo the special Yirgacheffe that I'm thinking about?:?
How would you describe its flavors compared to Esmeralda's?


I don't think that a comparison of flavours between the two would be fair to either coffee.

They are both truly incredible coffees... but they are very, very different.

The Esmerelda has been described to death so I'll assume you all need no refresher.
The Wondo, on the other hand, is new so I'll wax semi-poetic.

First, it's a real Yirgacheffe. I know that sounds like both a meaningless descriptor and a "hunh?" one but I think many of you know what I mean. After a couple of years of a lot of Yirgs that don't taste like prototypical Yirgacheffe, this one has the "true" profile. At it's base it has the Assam tea with milk and lemon profile I love so much in these coffees. It's intensely floral, slightly lactic (in the good way) and has wonderful lemon zest notes.
Second, for a Yirgacheffe it is gloriously complicated. It has a wonderfully malty note in the body - sweet and think and warm. At the same time, it has tons of fruit (less the stonefruit mentioned early and more tropical fruit... I think of mango and even guava).
Third, it pulls off that trick of being complicated and yet balanced. Whew...
Fourth, it is very clean while not being simple. There are no off-notes, no distractions. It has a very high degree of transparency.
Fifth (and finally), it is incredibly layered. Cupping it as it cools allows it to reveal itself as flavour change and emerge and morph. I suppose this is one way in which it is like the Esmerelda.

Overall... a lovely, lovely coffee.
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Postby nick on Fri Aug 10, 2007 3:08 pm

Huh? Who is this "malachi" guy?
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Postby trish on Fri Aug 10, 2007 3:53 pm

I believe it's pronounced
mah- lah- chee
it's Italian.

Also, Wondo is actually north of Yirgacheffe in the Sidama province of Sidamo- Yirgacheffe is really much smaller than I thought it was. Does "wondo" refer to something else here...like the coop name? Aleco, Did you go there?
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Postby aaronblanco on Fri Aug 10, 2007 6:31 pm

It's a co-op and also the name of an exporter, I believe.
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Postby SL28ave on Sat Aug 11, 2007 10:02 am

trish wrote:Also, Wondo is actually north of Yirgacheffe in the Sidama province of Sidamo- Yirgacheffe is really much smaller than I thought it was. Does "wondo" refer to something else here...like the coop name? Aleco, Did you go there?


Aleco said the Wondo Co-op (probably not an exporter) is in Gedeo (assuming as in "Gedeo Province", south of Sidama Province), but we all know how KrayzEe coffee-world info can be at every level. Sort this out, pweeze.

Trish, did you see some kind of boundary map for Yirgacheffe?

Either way, I'm largely in agreement with Malachi about the flavor of this Wondo lot.
Last edited by SL28ave on Sat Aug 11, 2007 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby SL28ave on Sat Aug 11, 2007 10:14 am

I'm also getting out of this that there still isn't any consensus over archetypal flavor differences between Esmeralda and Yirgacheffe, as I thought there might be (sorry Malachi *if* you dislike this approach. Archetypes are only as harmful as people make them).
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Postby Aleco on Sat Aug 11, 2007 12:21 pm

Wondo is the Co'op name. It's in Gedeo as Peter mentioned not the actual Wondo area of Sidama, Trish.

Chris, I agree with the Assam tea descriptor 100% as well as tropical fruit notes, partiularly mango. Jeff and I have noticed a white truffle note in the fragrance as well.
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Postby Aleco on Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:14 pm

And no, I haven't been yet. I am going for the first time in September and then again in November. Duane and our film crew were there last year. Check the site for the new film which is coming shortly. It's beautiful.

Off to Milletto's wedding! It's going to be killer!!!
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Postby trish on Sat Aug 11, 2007 3:46 pm

Haven't seen a map of Yirgacheffe...just the guide/agronomist's finger drawing a circle on a map of Sidamo.
Then as we drove through it he told me:
Yirga means "to settle" or "settle here"
and cheffe means marsh or wet-lands...the name was a call for people to come and settle in the area around the marsh lands. We drove around a valley, which I supposed was at one point a marsh. Not sure how they make the boundaries of the region other than what was shown to me.

The esmeralda and Yirgacheffe compare and contrast conversation is a fun exercise and all I can do is give a wink to Aleco on that subject.
:wink:

(congratulations those of you being married at the moment!!)
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Postby Peter G on Sat Aug 11, 2007 4:04 pm

I fall firmly in the camp that comparing La Esmeralda Especial to washed Southern Ethiopian coffees, especially Yirgacheffes, is useful and apt.

Of course two coffees (indeed, two lots of coffee) are never the same; sort of like no two people are the same. However, one can find similarities in style, appearance, and impression, and it makes sense to do so. For example, if someone had never met me, they might say: "he looks sort of like John Tuturro with glasses" or "he looks something like the Verizon can you hear me now guy". Both would help someone pick me out of a lineup, but would ultimately fail to describe the depth of my personality.

In this way, I think it is very useful to compare Esmeralda to great Yirgacheffes. As many are already noting, Yirgacheffe coffees are themselves full of variety, especially since all are hodgpodges of numerous small-producer, teeny-lot coffees. Both have a classic floral-jasmine note (in fact reminiscent of coffee blossoms themselves), and both have a pronounced citrus oil characteristic (call it lemon, bergamot, whatever...). The taster is often reminded of tea (asaam, english breakfast, jasmine tea, whatever), probably as a fantasia stemming from the citrus and floral notes. Frequently, there is a honeylike characteristic (when we taste sweetness and flowers togethter, we think honey). In my view, the jasmine-citrus was and is the hallmark of great Yirgacheffes and some greater Sidamo coffees, and the only other coffee ever to approach that territory in my experience is the Esmeralda Gesha. Both have secondary characteristics of tea and honey, too, in my tastings.

I think comparing the flavors is very fair, and very fun. Isn't that what comparative tasting is all about? I had an in-depth discussion yesterday about whether the fish tacos were better at Juanita's or Filiberto's. It's what passionate eaters and drinkers do: compare their favorites to each other.

In my lifetime of tasting coffees, I have had the opportunity to taste some Yirgacheffes that rivaled the Esmeralda for intensity and complexity. Not precisely the same, of course, but they would give each other a run for their money in the citrus oil-jasmine sweepstakes. Things are changing in Yirgacheffe, just as elsewhere: you hear stories of people planting new selections of plants that are CBD resistant and more productive. However, extraordinary coffees are out there, that's the wonder and the mystery of this whole thing.

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Postby barry on Sat Aug 11, 2007 6:33 pm

SL28ave wrote:
trish wrote:Also, Wondo is actually north of Yirgacheffe in the Sidama province of Sidamo- Yirgacheffe is really much smaller than I thought it was. Does "wondo" refer to something else here...like the coop name? Aleco, Did you go there?


Aleco said the Wondo Co-op (probably not an exporter) is in Gedeo (assuming as in "Gedeo Province", south of Sidama Province), but we all know how KrayzEe coffee-world info can be at every level. Sort this out, pweeze.


hmmm... there's a "Wendo" about 40 miles north of Yirgacheffe, in Sidama. It looks like the regions have been reorganized, as "Sidamo" is no longer a separate region and appears to have been merged, somewhat, with Oromiya. The Sidama and Gedeo zones are now in the SNNPR region.

http://ochaonline2.un.org/Default.aspx?tabid=4963 for some handy pdf maps.

fyi, Yirgacheffe is 06 09 32.02N, 38 12 12.13E according to Google Earth.

btw, if anyone is map shopping, the area is on Sheet 20 of the Defense Mapping Agency's 1:2,000,000 series of Africa. If anyone wants the .jpg, I can put it online.

--Barry "map boy"
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Postby trish on Sun Aug 12, 2007 9:15 am

barry wrote:--Barry "map boy"


you can say that again...thanks, Barry!
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Postby Brett Hanson on Tue Sep 04, 2007 9:14 pm

Esmerelda landing in Seatown. Yay! I can't wait until I'm back in town.

http://www.zokacoffee.com/page.php?jssC ... index.html
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Postby Aleco on Mon Sep 10, 2007 9:48 am

FYI Peter,

I just cupped your Yirga lot in Addis this past Saturday. It's not from the same Coop we're working with but very lovely none-the-less. Lots of elegant citrus notes....

Saludos,
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Postby Phuong on Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:51 pm

I pulled some Wondo single origin espresso shots today, and I'm amazed with the gorgeous coloring in the crema, the sweet aromas, and how it leaves me wanting more. I will try it again tomorrow.

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Postby Mike Gregory on Fri Sep 14, 2007 12:01 pm

Brett Hanson wrote:Esmerelda landing in Seatown. Yay! I can't wait until I'm back in town.

http://www.zokacoffee.com/page.php?jssC ... index.html


The Especial will also show it's gorgeous face at our Pioneer Square opening party on Sept 27. Roasted by our friends 49th Parallel.

mike g.
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