Zoom Winter Allocation 2022 - Ethiopia Worka Sakaro - Early Release

Winter Allocation 2022 - Ethiopia Worka Sakaro - Early Release


This is a traditional natural coffee from Worka Sakaro, Ethiopia, produced by Marta Alemu, whose coffee is featured this year as a single-farmer lot for the first time. The flavor profile is both silky-smooth and delicate, offering notes of sweet peaches, strawberries, raspberry, and creamy milk chocolate. 

Our roasters found the dense, dry coffee to need heat during the drying stage but to benefit from a gentler approach during Maillard and into First Crack. When brewed a slightly lower extraction percentage impressed with complex fruitiness, elegant sweetness, and a creamy viscosity.


In the midst of a flurry of Ethiopian coffee arrivals in August and September, it’s still surprising and refreshing to come across a coffee like this. On the cupping table, the coffee immediately jumped out from the pack, offering a unique combination of silky, smooth notes like milk chocolate and vanilla, while simultaneously surprising us with its delicate light peach, raspberry, and melon flavors. On more developed production roasts, the coffee offers a plethora of juicy strawberry notes, bright cherry, and nectarine. Above all, it is an immediately sweet coffee, the kind that sticks with you a little after you’ve finished the cup. 

This is the kind of coffee that you begin to appreciate more and more as you revisit it. While it’s certainly elegant and interesting on first try, the experience deepens with repeated visits, adding layers of nuance which are a pleasure to unfold.


Ripe cherries for this natural processed coffee were carefully hand sorted and floated to remove less dense and damaged coffee beans. Next the cherries were dried on raised beds for 15 to 20 days and turned regularly to avoid over-fermentation and mold. Raised beds are carefully constructed to ensure proper air circulation and temperature control, for optimal drying. Cherries were covered during the afternoons to prevent harsh drying in the intense sun. Once the cherries have dried to 11 percent moisture, they were transported to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, to be milled and prepared for export.

This exciting and very delicious natural coffee from Marta Alemu is a really nice example of a classically graded high end natural from Ethiopia. Smallish in size with a pretty clean and small spread, mostly 15-16 sizes, we’re also met with high density and low moisture figures. All around a great looking coffee to work with as it should have a nice long shelf life in good green coffee storage conditions and perform predictably in the roaster.

While there are certainly true heirloom coffees grown in much of Ethiopia, it’s also true that a relatively small number of highly controlled cultivars — both lab-crafted hybrids and selected landraces — are often the main components of specialty coffees throughout the nation. The selections have not been denoted here for us, but it’s fair to assume they are similar stock to the greater southern coffee regions, hearty and well adapted for cultivation in this, one of the world’s most coveted terroirs.


On V60, this coffee brewed through in 3:23, and produced a TDS of 1.3 and an overall extraction of 18.6%, all average results for a coffee like this. In the cup however this coffee absolutely blew me away! It had a strong aroma of nectarine and caramel, with intense juicy fruit notes of ripe nectarine, blueberries, peaches, crisp apple, and fresh cut yellow peach. I also tasted caramel and vanilla, a hint of violet florality, and a heavy dark chocolate finish, with a creamy body reminiscent of ice cream. In short, this cup was amazing, and I ended up chugging the whole thing even though it was 3 in the afternoon.

Never run out of coffee again.

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