As a coffee professional there are some questions you regularly get asked, the top ones being “How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?” and “What’s your favourite coffee?”. The first is easy: “Lots, but I also spit out a lot when doing big tastings”, but the second is much harder. It depends a lot on the time of year, and of course all coffees are great in different ways, so I enjoy having a variety of coffees available at any one time. Saying that though … if I had to choose just one desert island coffee … it would very likely be from Hunkute!
We have bought coffee from the Hunkute Co-operative since 2013, and it is fast becoming a staple in our range. We apply very different roasting approaches to the coffee when preparing it for filter brewing or for espresso, and it is exciting to have such a delicate, nuanced and aromatic coffee transcend the two styles so well. Back in February, Richard visited Ethiopia and found this year’s harvest from Hunkute to be one of the best to date.
The cherries brought to the washing station by the 1,900 or so smallholder farmers, all organically grown, are hand sorted for under and over ripe cherries before they are processed. The farmers will occasionally have access to and use organic fertilisers, but often won’t even prune their trees, simply picking what the tree happens to produce. Whilst untamed, unkempt and wild, the incredibly high altitude and the mix of coffee tree varieties being cultivated all work together to produce fantastic coffee fruit, which is hand picked by the farmers and delivered to the washing station. Using a traditional disc pulper the cherry skins are removed, and the mucilage is broken down during the 24-36 hour under-water fermentation period, before being graded in washing channels that sort the seeds by their tendency to sink or float; by their density. Before being put out to dry, the washed coffee parchment is soaked under clean water for another 24 hours. The clean parchment coffee has now been processed and graded, and the top quality lots will be dried over around 15 days in the sun, on raised beds, being heaped up and covered for the hottest parts of the day and during the cool, humid nights.
It’s fun working with such a versatile coffee. We have a really delicate roast of Hunkute for filter brewing that shows off the lemon, honey and floral aromas. Pushing the roast development more for espresso brewing means untapping preserved fruit notes, as well as hints of spices and baked goods. Delicious!
Dalle, Sidamo, Ethiopia
Wonderfully complex and pervasive, expect notes of gingerbread, dark chocolate, marmalade and currants. In milk, apricot and marzipan flavours shine through.