Throughout the coffee-growing world significant strides are being made to promote direct relationships between farmers and roasters. In certain countries, though, these efforts remain difficult because of strict rules regarding how coffee can be sold for export. In Ethiopia, individual farmers that are not members of cooperative societies have only one option - sell their coffee through the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange. This system makes it impossible to know any coffee’s specific origin. On the other hand, this guarantees high wages for exceptional coffees, such as this captivating selection from the Sidama region brought to us by Mountain Air Roasting. So while it would be great to know the names and faces of the farmers behind this coffee, you can feel good knowing that the unparalleled quality of these Grade 1 beans has been recognized with premium prices.
This is the second coffee we’ve featured from Mountain Air Roasting, a micro-roaster based in Asheville, North Carolina. The man behind the operation, Marshall Hance, brings a rather unorthodox perspective to the art and science of coffee roasting, with a background in textile materials science. His proprietary air-roasting technique produces coffees with a kind of sugar development we’ve never experienced before; it reminds us of the crystal texture of cotton candy, but without the sticky coating all over your mouth. We can’t pretend to understand the technical aspects of Marshall’s process, but with coffees as delightful as this Ethiopian gem, we can bet that other roasters are taking note and trying to capture some of his magic.