This will be a combined review, both of us having received samples. For a description of Bob and Jim's evaluation procedure, see our reference page.
Idido is a small town in the Misty Valley, the highest growing elevation of Yrgacheffe. This is where Abdullah Bagersh's mill is located, and the Yrgacheffes labeled Idido or Misty Valley are lots put together by Bagersh from the small farms in the region. These coffees have been somewhat of a heartbreaker for Miguel Meza, the buyer and roastmaster for Paradise. The air transported preship samples have been classic, extra powerful, floral, citrus and honey yrgs; whereas the long delays of the actual lots brings the coffees to the US in what he considers a slightly faded state. My impression has been different. The coffees are not as exuberant, but they age very gracefully, becoming mellower like an old wine. Last year's dry processed Idido Misty Valley lot had a cinnamon and apricot flavor that made it a favorite for SO espressophiles and in Barista Competition. So I was looking forward to what this year's would be like.
First, here are a couple of photos taken in November 2006 while visiting the Idido area with Abdullah Bagersh:
A photo at the Idido washing station. Drying tables can (barely) be seen in the background on the left.
Oren Bloostein (Oren's Daily Roast), Abdullah Bagersh and Bob.
Now to the review... Over the last year or two, much emphasis has been put on the outstanding natural-processed coffees coming from Ethiopia (rightly so) and the washed coffees seem to have gotten short shrift. Indeed, there have only been a few really outstanding washed Yirgs coming across my cupping table. This coffee is one of those.
It cups like the classic Yirgs I remember; Lemon-lime and jasmine aromas with apricot and coconuts added to zesty citrus in the flavor profile. It's light-to-medium bodied, rather acidic but well balanced with a medium long citrusy finish. The cup goes a bit astringent on cooling but not unacceptably so. The surprise for me was the cappuccino. It was just grand, with the best of this coffee's qualities easily cutting through the milk to announce their presence.
I really liked this coffee; but my recommendation would be guarded. It is much more a cerebral experience than a sensuous one. The cinnamon and apricot from last year's Idido are here as well, and more powerfully too. But the flavor is set in a grid of astringent green tea and grape peel notes that reminded me of a powerful Kenya or a great red wine not yet ready to drink. The astringency was especially noticeable in the finish. However, about four days after roasting, these astringent flavors fused into the fruit and spice producing a unified but complex taste that again reminded me of a great wine, but now perfectly cellared. This fused flavor is a "tastes like coffee" sort of thing, but not at all like the classic cup flavor of centrals. Finally, this is a dry coffee, at the opposite end of the spectrum from the lush Esmeralda or some of the DP Yrgs from last year. Basically, if you like muscular Kenyas, you will love this coffee; it is clearly an Yrg, but the sheer power of the flavors is much like Kenyan coffee.
The espresso shots were a complete surprise. Based on what I was getting in the cup, I was expecting a punishingly acid and astringent shot. To my delight, what I actually got was a completely superb, albeit very dry, super-yrg, better than in the cup. The fused flavor I got brewing it on the fifth day was already in evidence on the third as espresso. It gets my highest recommendation as an SO. However, this is definitely a low dose SO; start it out at 12 or 13 grams for the doubles, and work up from there, if necessary.
Dry Fragrance: 4.4
Wet Aroma: 4.5
TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 91.5
Dry fragrance: 4.25
Wet Aroma: 4.5
TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 91.0