Mystery Cup: Sample A...
Ethiopian Yrgacheffe -- Washed: Grown in the area around the town of Yrga Cheffe, near Lake Abaya, in the Sidamo district south of the
capital of Addis Ababa. "Yirga Cheffe -- Considered the finest of all coffees
grown in the horn of Africa, the most prevalent taste characteristic is lemon,
which gives a distinct tart bite that combines with a rich, floral finish.
(363,000 bags -- Altitude: 5800-6600 ft)"  "Yirgacheffe: A rich coffee
with a pleasant finish and lingering after taste. Real mocha, medium-bodied
with tart acidity. With a flavor reminiscent of a burgundy wine, it produces
a floral aroma." 
"The Birthplace of Coffee: Chosen by nature, arabica coffee has been growing
wild in the Ethiopian forests for thousands of years. Man came into the picture as a cultivator approximately in the 15th century. Arabica coffee,
which is the only species produced in Ethiopia, was distributed to the rest of
the world by nomads, who wrapped beans in fat, chewing them for energy and
sustenance on their adventures throughout Africa and the Middle East. "Present coffee production is an improvement of the forest coffee that grew
in nature, contributing over 60% of the country's export earnings. Small
holders account for 90-95% of the annual production and the rest is grown on
"More than any other country, Ethiopia has a broad genetic diversity among
its coffee varieties. Aroma and flavor are among the unique characteristics
found in coffees. Nine different bean varieties are cultivated in the four
growing areas, all with distinctive tastes, sizes, shapes, and colors. Ecological
factors affecting these characteristics include rainfall, temperature, altitude and soil. Shade, which combines with temperature, is
another factor that plays an important role in coffee production. Annual production is estimated at 4.6 million bags.
"Sustainability, quality and availability are the priorities in the strategy
for continuing coffee production in Ethiopia. The Coffee and Tea Authority
monitors the production and exportation of all coffees through their auction
"The coffee sector is the major source of employment in most rural areas, especially for women. About 10 million people (roughly a quarter of the
population) are engaged, either directly or indirectly, in the production,
processing and trading of coffee. The economy and political and social culture of Ethiopia are therefore dependent and directly related to the coffee
 "Ethiopia -- The Birthplace of Coffee," Ethiopian Coffee & Tea Authority pamphlet.
 Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union flyer.
Sample A proved to be something of a flavor
powerhouse, in many ways dominating the field, and perhaps overpowering
some of the coffees that followed in the cupping session. Its gigantic
flavor and aroma, lemony acidity and tea-and-flowers finish elicited a
number of reactions from cuppers... it's the single most-commented-on
coffee in the challenge.
"...this coffee struck me as superior to nearly all of the others
in every criterion." --Aaron Holland
"Extraordinary in its liqueur flavors and clean taste."
"...hints of tangerine."
"...very drinkable - the one I reached for until it was gone."
"Bright and brash - Woo Hooo!"