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Ethiopia Kaffa Forest, Tega & Tulla

August 22, 2006
Jim Schulman

Yes, you read right; it's Kaffa as in coffee. Ethiopia is where Arabica coffee originated. And while biologist will talk about the wide geographic dispersion of the wild plant; to the Ethiopians themselves, the forest of Kaffa is its place of origin. We no longer believe that a thing's origin represents its point of highest perfection, but I couldn't help approaching this tasting with a sense of reverence.

Perhaps Kaffa really is the original coffee. It is the taste equivalent of a rapid cut movie sequence: all the tastes of Ethiopian coffee come flashing by in rapid succession. Flowers, peaches, honey, chocolate, leather, whiffs of estery and alcoholic fruit. This is a rustic coffee that finishes with hints of dusty leather, moreover, there's cup to cup variation in acidity. Some cups are snappy and vivid, others tend towards overly sweet and slightly flat.

I'm not sure what to say about the these rustic irregularities, on the one hand, they fit the idea of coffee from Kaffa, on the other hand, this coffee has serious superstar potential if it were processed better. In any case, either way, there is no doubt that this is a 90 point coffee even after I downrated the finish and dry aroma, areas where the rusticity is most apparent.

I was not able to get a shot from this coffee that did justice to the cup profile. The shots were either overly jagged or overly simple. I'm pretty sure one could work it into a very a good shot with more practice and skill; but getting it right would be a project, not a breeze. It does not show well in milk.

Dry Fragrance: 4.0
Wet Aroma: 4.5
Flavor: 8.5
Finish: 7.5
Acidity: 7.5
Body: 8.0
TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 90.0

  • Lighter Roasts: florals, acidic nip, berry fruit, malty distillates, chocolate
  • Darker Roasts: Molasses and rummy distillates become dominant
  • As Espresso: Jagged at light roasts, balanced simple SO at dark FC/Vienna roast level


UPDATED: August 23, 2006