Brian Beyke

Slate Coffee Roasters - Aricha Ethiopia - Craft Coffee - April 2014

Brian Beyke


Slate Coffee Roasters is another one of those roasters that, for whatever reason, I had not heard about until they arrived in my Craft Coffee box.  After that, I began to see them everywhere.  Primarily from SCAA photos online, it seemed like just about everyone in Seattle, WA went into this shop and snapped a photo of their deconstructed espresso + milk which consisted of a glass of espresso, a glass of milk, and, you guessed it, a glass of espresso and milk.  Not only that, but the David from Purista had posted a shot from SCAA trying this Lycello from Ninety Plus Gesha Estates, making claims that it was his ideal coffee.  Based off those highly respected words, I decided to sniff out who might have some of it and once again landed at Slate Coffee Roasters, but we’ll get back to the Lycello in a future review.  Today, we are sitting down with their Ethiopia Aricha.

For us, quality is always the result of collaboration. To that end, we pursue relationships with everyone from the producers of our coffee, to our wholesale partners, suppliers and guests. At our retail locations, we promise to offer you a great time and a tasty beverage. Slate is a family business and this is our opportunity to invite you into our home. Whether you are a coffee enthusiast, interested in minutest nuances of some new brew method or simply a thirsty traveler and looking for something delicious to carry you on your way, we welcome you. - Slate

In Ethiopia, the export of all coffee is controlled by the centralized export system (ECX). The centralized system can make it hard to learn specifics about Ethiopian coffees, but this coffee is categorized as a “grade one.” In addition to being a mark of high quality, grade one coffees maintain more transparency through the supply chain, allowing it to be presented not only as a Yirgacheffe, but as a product of the Aricha washing station within Yirgacheffe.


Roaster: Slate Coffee Roasters

Producer: Various smallholders

Origin: Aricha, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia

Varietal: Heirloom

Elevation: 1,950 - 2,150 mas

Process: Natural

Brew Method:

V60 with stir | 28g © to 454g (w) | 2:45 total time | 197 degrees 1.36 TDS | 20.46% Ext.

Nice lemon-lime brewing aroma.

Dried strawberry really prominent on the front.  Really soft body with Frosted Flakes finish.  Bright lime-like acidity in the cup.  Juicy, but has some interesting notes at work.  The initial blast of fruit doesn’t actually detour from the rest of the cup as it cools, it moves into these sugary meets cocoa powder meets ale-like notes.  Gosh dang, I keep not wanting to like it because it’s an intense natural start but it sure is a tasty cup of coffee.

There is this fun hoppy mouthfeel I find with some creamy sweetness to the finish - it isn’t exactly silky as it’s still softly palpable. Billowy?  I don’t know.

The more it cools, the more cocoa that comes out.  Sweetness now takes the form of strawberries and cream along with blueberries and English breakfast tea, with honey making an appearance in the lingering finish.




Brew Method:

Woodneck | 29g © to 476g (w) | 4:30 total time | 197 degrees 1.40 TDS | 21.33% Ext.

Strawberry notes on the front with what seems like cacao nibs.  Cooling quickly into a still intense, but more controlled cup.  Lemon-lime notes seems to dance on the tongue with blueberry and blackberry hints as well. 

It still carries a slight hoppy taste and develops a lot of creaminess as it cools, otherwise it’s pretty similar to V60.

Cooling further you get these lingering tea leaf notes with more settled fruit flavors that are actually incredibly pleasing.  There is a pop of brightness in the end that sort of changes the way the cup feels, but ultimately ends on creamy and sugary blackberry, blueberry, honey and lemon-lime.  

Airy, fruited, lemon-lime.  



I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - I once loved natural processed coffees but lately they just become too increasingly intense from the beginning to end of the cup.  I really wanted to not like this coffee, as it took me to that same place in the start of the cup - fruit bomb.  However, in my attempts to look at each offering objectively I noticed that the more I sat with this cup the more enjoyable it became.   The less fruit explosive it grew the more sweet it became, and all the while the more airy it became.  It was like drifting to sleep, and dreams growing more and more soft yet vivid.  Instead of fruit bomb, this offering leans more toward the side of sweet and playful, with a hint of unpredictability.  While I carried fruit notes through the whole cup still, the creaminess and sugariness of the cup changed the vibe and became a lot more pleasing to sit with and in no way felt too intense, but grew more and more dessert-like.  Slate Coffee Roasters I salute you on not only a great offering, but for making me re-think my own opinions on naturally processed coffees.  Quite enjoyable.

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.