James Craig on the scene with Trabocca at momentous school event in Ethiopia.

Hello! James here...Zest’s in-house Q-grader + all round quality guy.

I thought everyone would love to hear about my recent trip to Ethiopia with Trabocca. It was easily the most educational + eye opening coffee experience of my career. It’s very difficult to fathom the depth of gene diversity present in these coffees until you see the farms for yourself.

When we look at other ‘human developed’ coffee origins, there have been very specific varietals taken to these places based on how well a particular varietal will perform in a particular environment + soil type. So the diversity of varietal is very limited, + hence the flavour profiles are as well. No matter how you process the cherries or how high they are grown, it's almost impossible to display the complexity of Ethiopian coffees.

Apart from the most diverse soil composition from region to region + altitudes of up to 2,400 meters, the real key to the complexity of Ethiopian coffees is the depth of the gene pool. On any one plot of coffee trees, there can be hundreds of different naturally occurring mutations, each showing slightly different properties to the next.

The value of people like Trabocca in this wonderful place, is the work they do with the government + the university of Ethiopia to single out + identify the most valuable varietals + which ones will perform the best in certain soil types + conditions. Apart from the work they do on the farms they deal with (i.e. perfecting processing, re-investing in the local communities + working with their own agronomists to keep the organic soil healthy), the research they fund is the key to the longevity + sustainability of the motherland of this amazing plant.

And when you discover that Ethiopia is still the cheapest place on the planet to pay people to pick + process the cherries, the premiums that these coffees are attracting in the market place are just testament to the demand for these amazingly complex and elegant coffees.

PLEASE STOP BY OUR STALL AT M.I.C.E. TO CHECK OUT THE CUPPING TABLE. I’LL BE RUNNING WITH THE BEST OF THE TRABOCCA ‘NEW CROP’ FROM THE MOST WONDERFUL ORIGIN ON THE PLANET. SEE YOU THERE!

Warm regards,

James Craig