Brian Beyke

Ruby Coffee Roasters - Ethiopia Chele'lektu

Brian Beyke
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Jared of Ruby Coffee Roasters, more than just about anyone I’ve talked within the industry, has been incredibly helpful in understanding more about brewing technique and proper extraction through the conversations we’ve had in email, phone, and via social media.  Not only that, but he has been supportive and encouraging of my pursuits within the industry (as well as being incredibly versed in late-90’s and early 2000’s hip-hop.)

One thing I value is having relationships with people.  To be honest, coffee here in Cincinnati is tough as there are only a few people in the coffee industry I’m connected with that actually seem invested in wanting to build on those relationships instead of just having a consumer based connection.  I still make my rounds to local shops, and support some of the great establishments here, but that’s a main reason why I’ve been home roasting, home brewing, and buying coffee from outside of my city.  

Based on Jared’s openness and desire to grow people brewing better coffee, I know that Ruby is a company worth supporting.  In the end it meets both the goals of relationship and business, it just has that added benefit of not feeling like someone is only in it for your money.

Continuing with some new crop Ethiopia, let’s dive into Ruby’s newest offering: Chele’lektu, Ethiopia.  



This coffee is composed of several small lots around the town of Chele’lektu in the Kochere Woreda of Yirgacheffe, which is one of 77 woredas in the Southern Nations, Nationalties, and Peoples Region of Ethiopia.  Kochere is part of the Gedeo Zone and is bordered East, South and West by the Oromia Region and on the North by Yirgacheffe.  The Kochere micro-region has long been known as one of the best origins for fully washed southern Ethiopian coffee. The combination of very high altitude and iron-rich, acidic soil creates the ideal growing situation to produce the bright, floral Yirgacheffe profile.



Details:

Roaster: Ruby Coffee Roasters

Region: Kochere, Chelelektu

Process: Fully washed

Varietal: Heirloom

Elevation: 1,850 - 2,000m

Harvest: December 2013 - January 2014



Brew Method:

V60 no stir | 14g © to 227g (w) | 2:00 total time | 197 degrees | 1.34 TDS | 20.09% Ext.

Such a fun and soft offering, coming out of the gate with a bang.

Can definitely find hints of bergamot through the brewing aroma - as if I were brewing tea.

Diving in to the cup was a surprisingly brisk acidity that caught me a little off guard but carried with it tangerine, lemon zest, lime juice, soft peach and plum fruits and silky honeysuckle and jasmine floral notes, all complete with chocolate mousse-like softness.  Refreshing and delightful.

The cooler it grows the sweeter the stone fruit notes grow, with honey sweetness, too, through the cup and a more tea-like finish.  Lingering floral notes from being threaded through the cup.  I’m actually a little surprised at how similar it feels in ways to the Lycello gesha (not reviewed yet) I’ve been wrapping up, with passion fruit, apricot, and lychee sweetness too swirling around in the continual sips.

(I think the difference is the gesha being a little bit more complex, and while soft, still holding some great depth to those notes.)

Brisk, lingering, honey-coated stone fruit sweetness.  

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Brew Method:

Kalita Wave | 35g © to 553g (w) | 3:50 total time | 197 degrees | 1.44 TDS | 21.00% Ext.

What beautiful aromas of citrus and floral.

The cup is nicely clean and refreshing, but more over it is lively.  

There is a bright lemon acidity that greets you with a little more juicy fruit notes than the previous make.  Finding honey off the bat along with hints of tea, peach, currant, plum, and lychee flowing immediately into a lingering honeysuckle and lavender floral finish.  Quite pleasing.

Digging further there are notes that remind me of melon, and it is in that moment that I realized the cup had been holding back more complexity than I expected it to have, and emerges seamlessly in the cup.  Notes of passion fruit, cherry, and apricot too begin to jump out, along with the notes present initially.  Even more nectary sweetness comes out the more it cools, really growing the body wider and creamier.  

Even cooler you really can taste the cherry notes along with bergamot and more tea-like notes developing, with hibiscus seeming to show up as well (but not forgetting the notes of honey, herbs, raspberry, lemon-tea.)  Mousse-like in texture, very sweet, very dessert-like, immensely pleasing.

Complex, nectary, floral.  

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Brew Method:

Gino Dripper | 35g © to 552g (w) | 3:45 total time | 197 degrees | 1.35 TDS | 19.64% Ext.

Really nice creamy body with raspberry notes out on front with that chocolate mousse finish.  The acidity is more tame than the previous makes.

Peachy sweetness begins to emerge from the cup, honeysuckle underlying those fruit notes.  Cherry, prune, currant and plum also swim around as I swish my sips, with the final flavors leaving the mouth with tastes of birthday cake.

Clean cup most of the way, with more of a crisp berry acidity than citrus notes, while still leaving hints of tangerine, lemon and lime.  The body starts to become more buttery as it cools, really soaking up every single ounce of fruit sweetness this cup has to offer like a sponge.

 

Sugary, shortbread, nectary goodness.

 

(This offering showcases a little more of that fun Yirgacheffe side than the previous makes that leaned more towards that complex gesha-like profile. Also, I was surprised at the difference in TDS readings with the Wave given essentially the same dose, time, temp amount.  I do know this was more straight pour as I was using my kettle with flow restrictor.  Need to visit this more, interesting to note.)

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Brew Method:

Chemex | 30g © to 480g (w) | 3:50 total time | 197 degrees | 1.32 TDS | 19.51% Ext.
Lightly crisp raspberries intro the cup.  Sweet, juicy, softly lingering floral finish.  Softly aromatic, hanging around the nostrils.  Very pleasing.
Silky milk chocolate resides in the finish, but only lightly so right now.  The body grows a bit more syrupy, teasing the palate with notes of grape, apple, pear, lychee, cantaloupe, passion fruit, apricot, peach, and cherry.  The acidity grows a bit more vibrant and citrusy- lemon zest and orange, with even more tropical notes that pop here and there that remind me of coconut cream pie, mango, guava, and pineapple.  Such a deliciously soft and complexly sweet cup.  
As the sweetness grows and the cup cools, my attention is drawn to three things:  grape jolly rancher-like sweetness and clarity, refreshing melon notes, and an earl grey tea-like finish.  Those aren’t the only notes, though, as stone fruit sweetness continues to grow and chocolate notes more similar to tootsie rolls fill up the lows. 
This method is a straddler between the fun Yirgacheffe Gino make and the more gesha-like makes prior to that.   

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Brew Method:

Siphon | 30g © to 420g (w) | 1:25 pull heat - 2:15 total time  | 197 degrees | 1.27 TDS | 21.5% Ext. (Immersion mode)

Very clean, soft, floral, and lightly juicy.  Aromas of warm cinnamon, bergamot.

First real noticeable flavors would be crisp raspberry sweetness - more berry than other methods.  There is less brightness than other methods, just a cherry-like ting initially, sliding into a slight tea-like finishing.  There is some honey sweetness emerging as more fruit notes (peach, plum, currant) begin to come out, but not as syrupy as previous makes.  The floral notes seem to flutter in the mid and low notes as opposed to flowing out the top in previous methods.  

The cup grows brighter as it cools, meeting more nectary fruit sweetness and adding a new finishing characteristic like melted milk chocolate on the back sides of your tongue.  The floral notes rise up and begin to infuse with the fruit flavors - the missing piece to the intro of the cup while they remained lower in the cup.  Ah, a beautifully floral and sweet ending: the most intense and cohesive all the notes get - like a crescendo, right before drifting away into a lingering finish and end of the cup.

Apricot nectar, floral.

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Brew Method:

Aeropress (Inverted) | 16g © to 240g (w) | 2:00 then plunge by 2:30 total time | 200 degrees | 1.36 TDS | 21.55% Ext. (Immersion mode)

Very lively top end.  Finding a bit more crisp apples and pear, with raspberry as more of an afterthought.  More dense body with squeezes of honey, and strangely some chocolate and vanilla sweetness that when mixed with the fruit leave the mouth with notes of Neapolitan ice cream.

The more I dig in the more surprised I am that the acidity is as lively as it is.  A little bit more citrus acidity is drawn out of the cup and those floral notes start to swim too.  Still finding peachy, cherry, raspberry, currant, and apricot with grape-like clarity, but the body feels…spongey?  Are you allowed to use that term?  Oh well, I am.  As I already mentioned, there is this denseness that soaks up all the fruit notes.  Tea leaf hints in the finish too.

As I get to the bottom I’m blown away with the final sips and how juicy they are.  You know how watermelon and cantaloupe are really juicy?  This is similar.  It’s clean,  naturally sweet, fruity, and refreshing.  It’s a great point in the end cup, it would be neat to experience if it took place when there was more left.  Maybe next time I’ll let cool a bit slower.  

Lively, juicy, refreshing.  

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Brew Method:

Bonmac | 14g © to 227g (w) | 3:00 total time | 197 degrees | 1.38 TDS | 20.72% Ext.

Nice and bright, sweet and buttery body with glimpses of freshly baked rolls and juicy peach.  Really nectary off the bat.  Raspberry, apricot and mango (dried mango) swim in the cup too, and finish that is a little reminiscent of autumn leaves or hops.  

Cooling further the cup, while still retaining it’s fruit sweetness, also begins to slide down the tongue and throat like melted milk chocolate and nougat - almost like Cadbury drinking chocolate.  This citrusy acidity springs up in the end of the cup a little more noticeable than the beginning.  Honeysuckle mingles with the other flavors - a little more noticeable in the cooler moments of the cup, but isn’t the main focus.  It does seem to be stirring around these honey sweet notes though, still ending with a hoppy, chocolatey finish.  (I feel like you really notice the hops or wheat beer qualities if you take drinks of water after you finish your coffee or coffee sips)

Bright, nectary, melted chocolate

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This cup offered a lot of change between my first make of it and my last.  It has been delicate and complex, fun and fruity, and it’s been smooth, sweet, and a little more approachable and drinkable.  Can I say which I prefer?  No, not really.  I think what is most enjoyable and worth noting, though, is you have a coffee here that didn’t necessarily stick to one particular trademark.  Sure a lot of the tasting notes reside in all the makes, but I feel like they all provide the drinker with a different experience, something you don’t often find in a bag of coffee.  I guess if I did have to note one trademark, it’d be that this coffee will produce an excellent cup, every time. 

(Ruby mentions this offering is 2/3 roasted and moving fast.  If you’ve been contemplating picking it up, you’d better act quickly)

 

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.