Bangin’ Brews: Reuben Hills’ Ethiopian Harosana

The world of buying green specialty coffee beans is filled with a myriad of potential pitfalls, not least of which is the chance that by the time the coffee actually lands at the roastery, it simply won’t taste like it did at origin. It can go both ways. The micro-lot roasters used when cupping green samples at origin can at times be sketchy and often lack the control of variables to really dial in a roast and see the true potential of the beans. This can leave room for some ‘untapped potential’ in the beans that only gets discovered on home soil, but there’s certainly an element of guesswork involved. On the contrary, shipping and customs is also an issue that can drive things in the opposite direction. You might have just bought the best greens on the planet, only to have them sit on the docks for a few months in the wrong climatic conditions and all of a sudden you’re dropping cupping scores faster than I get dropped on my Sunday morning ride. It’s no surprise that many of the roasters I speak to simply won’t take the risk and only buy their greens from merchants. However for those roasters brave enough to do the leg work at origin and take a punt on getting their greens safely back to their home country, the rewards can be outstanding.

Reuben Hills - Specialty Coffee - The Directory Coffee9

This week’s bangin’ brew goes to Reuben Hills for their Ethiopian Harosana. They purchased this coffee directly from the co-operative at origin and according to the guys at Reuben, the Harosana hasn’t lost anything on the journey to Australia, doing a great job of representing an heirloom Ethiopian.

This wet process coffee is from the Gumay district of Ethiopia’s Jimma Region. The flavour notes say “citrus, floral and red currant”. My experience was similar but also a little different. A mandarin pith start is instantly backed up by a big apricot nectar middle, rich and flowy as it spreads wide through your mouth. There’s some lighter florals, a little marmalade and a lot of smiling to finish. It’s interesting as the flavour profile is actually similar to a lot of the geishas I’ve tasted only this thing packs a much bigger body for a fuller cup and silkier mouth feel.

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It speaks to a little more extraction than I usually get, but this is where I ended up on the recipe front:

  • Inverted Aeropress
  • 220g water at 94˚C
  • 12.5g coffee with a much finer than usual grind
  • 30g bloom for 30 seconds
  • 3x one-way agitations with the paddle at 1:30
  • Punch it out from 2:45-3:10

Reuben Hills Harosana, definitely worth the effort.

Disclaimer: No kickbacks here, this is just a damn good coffee that deserves a bit of press.


Comments

  1. The Reuben Hills Ethiopian Harosana brew described here really does sound banging! As a true coffee lover, there is nothing that compares to the satisfaction of roasting your own coffee but as you say when it comes to buying green specialty coffee beans to self-roast there can be a lot of potential issues and you can end up disappointed. Things to look out for include the uniformity of beans, that the washed Arabica beans are even and bright not dull in colour and make sure to inquire about their coffee drying conditions. You should learn to smell and feel the beans, it’s pretty easy to detect ferment and smoke damage and if they feel glass-like and fragile, it’s likely they’ve been over dried.

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