Brian Beyke

Forty Ninth Parallel - Ethiopia Dumerso

Brian Beyke
Forty Ninth Parallel - Ethiopia Dumerso

I’d heard and seen good things about our neighbors to the North, the Canadian dynamo that is Forty Ninth Parallel Roasters.  From their gorgeous packaging to whispers of their heavenly sourcing, I knew it was time that I check them out.  I first was deciding on a new crop Costa Rica when my eyes noticed something you’d think I wouldn’t be tempted by more this year - another washed Ethiopian offering.  Today, we are unpacking the Dumerso, Ethiopia from 49th Parallel Roasters.

This coffee is produced by around 700 smallholder farmers, delivering coffee cherry to the owner of the Kebel Dumerso Cheleba coffee mill, Surafel Birhanu Coffee Supplier.

Known as the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia is provided with coffee for export from around 1.1 million farmers. Most are smallholders, growing varieties known as indigenous Ethiopian heirloom: a myriad of Typica hybrids, and some newer varieties based on old Typica strains. Farmers deliver coffee cherry to the coffee mill, where they are hand sorted before undergoing the meticulous process of producing clean coffee for sale.

Ripe cherry is processed using depulpers to remove some of the outer layers of the cherry (skin and some of the fruit). It is then fermented in clean water overnight before the remaining mucilage is washed off and the coffee is dried on raised beds - tables with a mesh bottom to allow for air circulation during drying process.


Roaster: Forty Ninth Parallel

Region: Gedeo, Yirgacheffe

Farm: Around 700 smallholder farmers

Process: Washed

Varietal: Ethiopian Heirloom

Elevation: 1,800 - 2,000m

Brew Method:

Chemex | 30g © to 480g (w) | 3:25 total time | 201 degrees | 1.41 TDS | 20.85% Ext. (preferred method)

Sweet aroma, floral throughout the brewing process, honey and floral in the cup.

Diving in is wonderfully floral, carrying a buttery mouthfeel with great density.  It has a really defined sugarcane sweetness to the finish, with lime, lemon and bergamot filling the acidity space, and growing a complexity of dried, stone, and tropical fruits.  Date, raisin, peach, apricot, mango, passion fruit and lychee fruits dance in a complex and plush body, a bit juicy but always ending buttery.  It remains clean and incredibly sweet in the lingering finish, floral notes of jasmine, hibiscus, and rose surrounding every sip.

As it settles in, boy does it remain saturated with flavor - buttery, tea-like, floral and citrus.  A vanilla-peach-tropical combination singing in the lingering and oh, so delicious finish.  Those tea notes also dissect a bit further, with hints of spices and these herbal elements that seem to be noticed here and there through the cup.  Notes of lemongrass, mint, basil, and lemon verbena may play off the floral or fruited notes, and also seem more detected in the cooler stages of the cup.

Overall, a really delightful cup, a great amount of floral, densely sweet body with good complexity and lingering finish.  While not the most showy Yirgacheffe we’ve visited, it was completely solid and completely enjoyable.

(Very similar to Aricha, looks in location and in flavor)


Brew Method:

Kalita Wave | 34g © to 554g (w) | 3:35 total time | 200 degrees | 1.32 TDS | 19.95% Ext.

This cup is a grower.  It begins very quiet, and over time begins to piece itself together.  A growing juiciness and butteriness to the body.  Hints of tea and whiffs of fruit.  

It’s a clean cup, with sugary sweetness, lingering candied notes, delicate fruits, a creaminess like nutter butters, and lemon verbena in the finish.  It is crisp, refreshing, bright and light in presentation.  

It does continue to open up with more saturated sweetness, delicately complex peach and apricot entangle with mango and date as vanilla, tropical nectar and floral infused honey linger, while other herbal elements teasing the palate as well.

(Doesn’t offer that same experience as the first cup did.)


Brew Method:

Woodneck | 29g © to 480g (w) | 5:00 total time | 201 degrees | 1.38 TDS | 21.22% Ext.

Really floral aromas through the brewing and into the cup, along with sour patch kids sweetness.

Immediately diving offers you a nice sugary sweetness, a full spread of tantalizing floral notes, and a complexity of herbal-tea notes off the bat.  It has a comfortable weight, lightly syrupy but otherwise buttery leaning towards velvety.  Lingering sweetness and citrus as well in the finish.

Man, it really condenses here.  It still has that syrupy/buttery mouthfeel, but such a condensed and complex ball of fruit notes, it seems like a gusher just waiting to be bitten into and have that flavor explode.  

Clean and aromatic, with sweet peach, cantaloupe, sweet honeydew, mango, grape, grapefruit, and lychee notes surrounded by jasmine and rose with a citrus and herbal lingering.  Balanced and endlessly enjoyable.  The more it cools the more dreamy it grows.  So good.


Brew Method:

V60 no stir | 14g © to 227g (w) | 2:15 total time | 199 degrees | 1.40 TDS | 21.00% Ext.

Really floral aromatics.

Similar to the Woodneck cup.  A buttery body with intense apricot sweetness and florals through to the finish, dense and immersed with flavor.  Very clean, very vibrant.

You’ll find nods to apricot, peach, currant, pear, passion fruit, and raspberry most forward here, oozing out into the palate and saturating every taste bud. It carries a cocktail of lemon, lime, and berry filling the acidity space.  Herbal notes are at play as mentioned in previous methods, complex, condensed, and sugary sweetness lingering into finish with tea-spice and whiffs of cocoa remaining.


Brew Method:

Aeropress (Inverted) | 17g © to 240g (w) | 2:00 then plunge by 2:30 total time | 200 degrees | 1.39 TDS | 20.75% Ext. (Immersion mode) (preferred method // one of best aeropresses in a long time)

Intense aromas, like a good Yirgacheffe would- bergamot, vanilla, florals, honey butter, caramel.

First sips of this cup are out of this world.  An intense tropical sweetness with lemon and orange candy acidity quickly moving into a creamy and sugary sweet body, perfumed and tickling with pops of fruit before a silky floral finish. Wowza.

It’s hard to describe exactly how candy-like the flavor is, intense sweetness yet buttery and complex, rich on the tongue but like a bottle rocket of fruit notes exploding on the palate- apricot, strawberries and cream, peach, caramel apple cider, mango, lychee, cantaloupe covered in fruit dip, kiwi, grape soda, lemon and raspberry cotton candy, all ending in lingering floral and tea-like finish.  

Caramel aroma remains in the cup, as it stays rich but grows more delicate in it’s sweetness, blanketing the tongue and settling in sweet flavors, dense and sugary.  It finishes with those herbal tea notes we’ve noticed previously, a good mark that says, “good job, bud. We made it through another delicious cup. Hope to see you ‘round these parts again.”

And he rides off into the sun.


Brew Method:

Iced Chemex | 40g © to 350g (w) | 300g ice | 3:15 total time | 200 degrees 

Mmm. Honey body really sticks out here. Feels a bit buttery but carries some nice lemon, orange, raspberry, and peach candy-like sweetness and ends with vanilla cream and tea.

After sitting a bit the floral notes jump out and really mingle with that honey.  Sweet, sexy, and welcomed with the stone fruit and icing sweetness that follows.  Creamy, buttery, clean and a bit sparklingly lemon and bergamot on the front, and birthday cake in the finish.


Highlights: clean, aromatic, buttery body.

Several makes reminded me of the Aricha and Chelelektu, so this was a good one.

I liked the lower extraction. I like a quiet cup that slowly builds intensity, but I also really enjoy a flavorful cup from the beginning, and the other two cups provided that.  I did prefer the chemex a bit more, I think the Woodneck was a little too extracted for this brew, even though it settled out into a delicious cup.  

That Aeropress though- man that was banging.  It’s hard to say things different about these coffees that give up similar profiles since I’ve had so many washed Ethiopians, but just know that this was up there with the best, of the best, of the best, sir.  If I had to note one particular thing, I’d say more than other offerings this one had a particularly round buttery body, something the others didn’t really demonstrate.

This was a good start to 49th Parallel, I’ll definitely want to follow what they are up to from now on.  

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.