Brian Beyke

Kickapoo Coffee Roasters - Yirgacheffe Idido Ethiopia

Brian Beyke
Kickapoo Coffee Roasters - Yirgacheffe Idido Ethiopia

Today is an absolute treat for me.  The next two reviews we visit are going to be two new washed Ethiopian offerings from Kickapoo Coffee.  If you know anything about me, you know I’ve been tracking washed Ethiopians pretty closely this year, so I’m really excited to see what Kickapoo offers up, and something tells me we will be impressed.

Kickapoo begins each roast with an open mind. They consider the micro-region, processing methods, and growing conditions that influenced the harvest. Then they roast in small batches, cupping as they go, in an ongoing search for the perfect expression of the bean’s natural characteristics. By focusing on the best flavor profile for each variety, they end up with a rainbow of subtly distinctive roasts, each beautifully expressive of the inherent qualities of the beans.

Roasting fresh, high-quality green coffee is vitally important. To this end, they designed and built a custom green storage room that is temperature and humidity controlled. Because each origin has essentially only one harvest per year, properly storing raw coffee is crucial. They roast their coffees weekly, to order, in small handcrafted batches in our refurbished German-made Probat roaster from the 1930s. In refurbishing it, they used all original parts, while adding customized elements to increase their control. These modifications include a frequency control drive to control the speed of the drum, special adaptations to maximize cool times, and probes to measure bean and environment conditions with digital precision.  What better way to experience that precision through roasting, and sourcing we read about last write-up than visiting a bean that shows a prime example of that- one of last year’s Good Food Award winners, the Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Idido.

Idido is famous in the world of Ethiopian Coffee.  Named for the village located just a few kilometers from the cooperative and mill that were among the first in the world to craft meticulously prepared natural processed coffees under the name ‘Idido Misty Valley’. Like many cooperatives in Ethiopia, Idido has all of the right ingredients for turning out some of the best coffees in the world: high altitude, sound processing techniques, fertile soils, and heirloom varietals.

Idido was established in the late 1970’s and joined the ranks of Yirgacheffe Farmer’s Union in 2002. The cooperative has roughly 1000 active members who cultivate farms averaging 1.5 hectares. Kickapoo visited this cooperative in November of 2011 and were very pleased with the level of interest and engagement from members of the cooperative.

Our roast of last season’s crop was named one of the top 15 coffees of the year by Coffee Review and was recognized nationally by the Good Food Awards this past January in San Francisco.

They’ve been working with Idido for the past four years and each lot has been better than the last. After tasting the first batch, they now know that this lot is no different. Enjoy.


Roaster: Kickapoo Coffee Roasters

Region: Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia

Farm: Idido Cooperative

Process: Wet Fermentation, Soak, 14 Day Raised Bed Drying

Varietal: Ethiopian Heirloom

Elevation: 1900-2100 meters

Brew Method:

Kalita Wave | 34g © to 552g (w) | 3:45 total time | 201 degrees | 1.33 TDS | 20.00% Ext.

Lovely brewing aroma perfumed with florals, lime, and berry.

Nose of honey, strawberry candies, florals.

Whoa, really rich initial sips, comes out of the gun smoking.  It carries strawberry candy on the front, zested a bit with lemon peel, tangerine, and a bit of saturated juiciness like biting into a really flavorful cantaloupe, with vanilla, lime, cherry, honey, and almond but still those delicate florals you find in washed Yirgs.  If it is this sweet right away, I am greatly anticipating it’s cooling phases, as still not but a few minutes in this vanilla cream note seems to almost jump out in the end of the sips.

Cooling a bit, it slowly and silkily covers the walls of the entire mouth.  You get some slightly sour cherry notes come out mixing (like the midway point of eating an warhead) with these really perfumed florals, adding all kinds of complexity to the cup.  It’s clean, but syrupy. Delicate, but saturated.  Honey lined, citrus kissed, sweet like melon with raspberry, strawberry, plum, peach and vanilla, refined and directed.  In the end there is a bit of a savory element that hides in the florals, I can’t tell if it is molasses or what it is.  Lingering on gives quiet notes of orange peel as well in a slightly drying finish.

The last 1/3 of the cup is so luscious, so lingering and sweet.  I’m so surprised how this satisfies the urge of everything I like about washed Ethiopians. The florals and herbals are perfectly at balance with the sweetness, nothing steps on any toes, the body is silky but still seems a tad richer, not coming off 'light" like some others can.  It’s saturated, comfortable acidity, fruit notes that aren’t too sweet. It is a perfect cup.

In the end it carries a growing acidity, still harmonious in the cup.


Brew Method:

Chemex | 30.2g © to 480g (w) | 4:20 total time | 200 degrees |1.38 TDS | 20.25% Ext.

A bit on the stronger side.  Really clear and sweet aromatics, berries, cream, floral.

First sips are very detailed: apricot, peach, mango, and strawberry candies.  Lemon and lime sort of dance on the top, with a nice plush raspberry note in the center sweetening the entire cup til it’s creamy sweet, floral-infused lingering finish.

Really similar to the Ruby Kochere here, balanced, delicate, silky, complex, and lovely… so lovely, in fact, that I am leaving my notes here to enjoy.


Brew Method:

V60 no stir | 14g © to 227g (w) | 2:05 total time | 199 degrees | 1.37 TDS | 20.60% Ext.

The aromas brewing and in cup are still astounding.

More herbal/floral entangling in the beginning of this method than some others, still with that candy-like raspberry note.  Soft, not quite silky, lemon brightness and slightly tea-like in the finish.

Opening further, notes of apricot, strawberry, and cantaloupe seem to meet in a more honied body, delicately palpable and finishing cleanly and a bit more effervescent, while the lingering finish mid-cup seems to bring out cherry and even grape-candy sweetness a bit more.

The mouthfeel is so delicious. It slides in silky, brings that sugary sweetness, and then melts into a buttery trail of absolute bliss.

The finish balanced out nice. Plush, sugary, nice fruit juiciness, candied lime, and a flavor-filled lingering full of lovely florals.


Brew Method:

Aeropress (Inverted) | 17g © to 240g (w) | 2:00 then plunge by 2:30 total time | 199 degrees | 1.38 TDS | 20.60% Ext. (Immersion mode)

Really prominent floral and lime off the front- beautiful and sweet.  Raspberry growing, and these are just the hottest sips.

Coming back the cup most similarly reminds me of Aricha on the aeropress- clean, saturated but lower lying lemon and citrus, and spread on a bouquet of florals and herbals, complex and sweetened.  I might sip this one slower than the other methods, as i’m still waiting for that sweet raspberry note to pop in the cup.  

Ah, not two minutes later does it arrive. Buttery, sweet, kiwi, melon, and raspberry. Plump, dense, and balanced.  It grows so creamy and sweet, with lemon underlying the whole cup, structured wonderfully, comfortably saturated with delicious fruits and layered sweetness that continues to unravel as it cools.


You know, I’m not sure if I’d had coffee from Idido before this offering.  Quite possibly I had Counter Culture’s Idido last year while road tripping back from South Carolina, but I wouldn’t remember if I had.  Either way, I had no idea until recently what a gem this was in the specialty coffee world.  It wasn’t until Jonathan Bonchak of Counter Culture commented on the picture of this coffee I posted to Instagram that I learned about #TeamIdido and, in turn, realized that this coffee fared so well in competition and also in Good Food Awards.

I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but I can’t help it.  I feel like Ethiopian season is this ongoing, gradual, ramping up of flavor and enjoyment, or at least that has been my experience with them.  I thought I found “the one” but that only lasted until the next “one” came along.  While drinking this coffee, I was so pleased with how it presented a similar raspberry sweetness to the Ruby Kochere (review not yet posted) that I had finished previously, but it didn’t jump out of the cup like the Kochere seemed to at times.  It also kept the herbal/floral clarity that I found in the Chelectu.  It was articulated, it was delicate and poised, it saturated with flavor yet always remained in balance.  Plus, it had this absolutely jaw dropping mouthfeel.   It was, simply but, a perfect washed Ethiopian offering.  If I had to drink but one coffee for the rest of my life, I think I’d be happy sipping on Kickapoo Coffee’s Idido.

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.