Operation Cherry Red

Well, in the time since i last posted cupping notes, we have cupped a great many coffees, including many great coffees, some good coffees (including the new crop Panama Hacienda La Esmerelda, which is good, but not even worth considering at those silly prices) and some downright pants ones too. But standing out by a mile and a half were these.

I don’t have a great deal of information on the premise behind Operation Cherry Red, though i’m assured its all good. Higher prices for premium products, farmers actually getting the money and the community benefiting. When i get some more info, i’ll update this post. Promise.

Update from press release: Operation Cherry Red is a selection of special micro lots, of about 50 bags each, both washed and unwashed Ethiopian coffees. In the normal sorting of the coffees, green unripe cherries are removed, however under this premise, only the ripest red cherries are removed and processed as Operation Cherry Red. These lots are then reassessed in order to determine the best possible coffees from all entrants. Washed coffees are packed and shipped in 2×12.5kg vac packed cartons whereas the naturals are in 60kg special grainpro bags inside quality jute, avoiding risk of ferment due to moisture content, etc.

The samples themselves arrived in an unassuming brown box, including a selection from Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil and Kenya to name a few, though it was the handful of Ethiopians that meant serious business, the best of which all shared the same title and processing – Operation Cherry Red and all naturals.

So good was this cupping, it had to be repeated the following week, just to make sure we weren’t getting this wrong!

Organic Unwashed Yirgacheffe 3 – Operation Cherry Red 2007/8 crop

When opening the sample bag of greens, that sweet, sickly smell of a great green coffee, kinda like a liqour/cocktail cabinet smell, hits you. The beans themselves looked very similar to the Biloya Special Natural that we so enjoy, I was getting an idea of what we might be in for the following day! We were not let down – ripe, almost Harrar-ish gameyness, but with a wonderful, delicate sweetness. The benchmark had been met!

Organic & Rain Forest Alliance Unwashed Sidamo 3 – Operation Cherry Red 2007/8 crop

A Juicier, yet more refined coffee than the previous cup. There were two roasts, a light and a slightly darker one (still very much light though). My notes for the light simply read “LUSH – LIKE GRAPEFRUIT JUICE – ACIDITY – SWEETNESS“, whereas the darker roast tames the bright acid/sweet cat and mouse game. Interestingly, after a long time, when others were obviously over-extracted, this was still holding its head high. Stone cold, but high up there.
Unwashed Sidamo 3 – Operation Cherry Red 2007/8 crop

Following in the footsteps of the last cup, both figuratively and sensually. Very fragrant with those fruity notes and great acidity. Peter dubbed this “strawberry jam“. On the second time around all i could think was Fruit Salad (the Black Jack’s partner in crime, might be a British thing. I dunno). Fruit juices in cooling. Simply outstanding!

We can’t wait to get some of these coffees in the roastery. They will, In my humble opinion, beat anything out there. But then again, I do love Ethiopian coffee.

Off to Copenhagen at the end of the week to see Maria at Marista Kaffee and check out the SCAE meet. Good luck to all those competing in their events, especially Lily de Bolaños of Viva Espresso in San Salvador.


~ by E-83 on June 17, 2008.

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