Brian Beyke

1000 Faces Coffee - Misty Valley Ethiopia - Mistobox - April 2014

Brian Beyke

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1000 Faces Coffee has a symbolic node to Joseph Campbell’s book “The Hero with A Thousand Faces”.  Campbell was a mythologist who studied the cultural myths around the world and monomyth template that ran through each story.  Started in a garage 8 years ago by Benjamin Myers, he liked the idea of the company traveling the world of coffee, establishing a deep understanding of the people and place producing the coffee, and creating a connected narrative though their story of production.  Winning Good Food Awards in both 2013 & 2014, I’d say 1000 Faces Coffee has been very successful with their model.  They have worked very hard over those past eight years at developing relationships abroad and trying to create an authentic business that works at being direct as to where the coffee is produced and elaborating upon the value chain of what makes for great coffee.  Myers believes that by saying exactly where the coffee comes from and focusing on geographical specificity with a good product, you create a nice connection between the producer and consumer.   If a consumer is emotionally connected to a place, they will be motivated to care more about this place, and that care is the root of sustainability.  Today, we look at Ethiopia “Misty Valley”.

The Idido Cooperative’s Misty Valley stands out from all other Yirgacheffe coffees. Exporter and producer Abdullah Bagersh has developed this coffee with a remarkable level of care through every step of the process. When the ripe cherries are brought to the mill to dry on raised African drying beds, they are constantly turned for 48 hours, day and night, to allow for even evaporation of moisture. Once they are completely dry the skin, mucilage, and parchment are removed. This natural process gives Misty Valley the backbone of a milky body, a beautiful contrast to the floral and bright berry high-end of this grade 1 Yirgacheffe.

Details:

Roaster: 1000 Faces Coffee

Origin: Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia

Producer: Various Small Producers // Idido Cooperative

Process: Full natural

Varieties: Heirloom

Elevation: 1,750 - 1,950m

 

Brew Method:

Gino Dripper | 40g © to 552g (w) | 3:45 total time | 203 degrees

Yep, that’s a natural Ethiopia.

Luscious and medium bodied, slightly heavier than I would have expected weight wise, with blueberry and black cherry taking the main attention of the cup with chocolate finishing.  (Think of the weight like a blueberry bagel) The fruit notes are pretty pronounced in the highs, but the lingering finish leaves you noticing nice floral sweeps as well as some orange citrusy acidity.

There’s a moment in the cooling where the cup sort of ‘drops’ and when it does the fruit notes become a little less intense and the floral notes become more alive. It’s a beautiful moment in the cup, still with chocolate notes in the finish.

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Brew Method:

Bonmac | 24.5g © to 360g (w) | 3:10 total time | 203 degrees | 1.53 TDS | 20.58% Ext.

Still very fruit forward but in a really pleasing way. Getting a lot of berries but a comfortable amount of herbal notes fall right behind with woodsy finish. They are all pretty back to back in flavor so it’s easy to miss, but quite interesting dissected.  Smooth, medium bodied.  

There’s a mixture of blackberry, huckleberry, blueberry, black cherry and even some lime squirts it seems like with tart berry acidity.

Cooling, it lessens slightly in intensity but still remains berry heavy, but now we find some honey/caramel sweetness in the finish. Floral notes detected as well, but not as flourishing as previously made.  Tea notes also come out as the cup grows to room temperature.

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Brew Method:

Woodneck | 30g © to 476g (w) | 4:30 total time | 202 degrees | 1.43 TDS | 21.40% Ext. (preferred method)

Aroma is so fun.  Key lime pie, strawberry rhubarb, and herbal elements too.  Berry notes are only caught in hindsight.

Nose is clean like cherry laffy taffy and nougat.

This is a really wild coffee.

Sips are much more reserved than other makes, not as punchy.  Still medium bodied and clean but carrying winey characteristics.   Sits more on the black cherry and the blueberry is a little more of an afterthought in this cup. Has a more palpable mouthfeel than the other makes like 2% milk.  This may sound weird, but the acidity seems a bit medicinal, hitting the top of the mouth similarly to cough syrup. Carried through the cup is are nougat notes, most reminiscent of a Three Musketeers, maybe mixed with cherry cordial.

Hints of vanilla bean, honey, honeysuckle, hazelnut, and wildberry, apple all are present but the striking of the black cherry does seem to remain pretty strong as it meets with some chocolatey and fermented finishing.

Cooling further the strawberry notes seem to arrive too, still carrying that milky body that finish almost like eating frosting from a can, with spice and hazelnut surviving past.

Coolest moments of the cup provide those floral infused honey tea flavors with berry dripping in the rear of the mouth.

 

Fruity, aggressive, luscious.  

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This is definitely an aggressive cup of coffee.  One thing most impressive about offerings like this is it certainly turns the heads of people who are not previously versed in world of specialty coffee and what sort of flavors you can experience.   I think this could pull as a terrific Cortado, tame some of those flavors but still cutting through enough to enlighten those who aren’t so daring to dive into the world of black coffee.  As a pour over, I felt it was all but an all out explosion on the palate.  There was such an array of flavors going, and they all strived to be in the spotlight. In the later moments of the cup when things settle down, say 10-15 minutes or so after diving in, the cup started to settle into a more tame presentation and was probably my favorite moment in the cup for the changes taking place.  In retrospect I should have put this in an immersion style brewer to see if I could balance out the fruit a little more. To anyone else who may have this or want to give it a go, I recommend trying that and letting me know how it turns out.

Co-host of the I Brew My Own Coffee Podcast and always has all the chocolate. I also love to play board games. Yea, let's go do that right now.