Written by Mac Atkinson
As a general rule, our single-origin coffees are roasted to highlight the unique, seasonal characteristics that make them special and our blends promise balance and consistency year round. But sometimes, we just can’t help but mash-up two or three of our most delicious seasonal offerings to yield something with all of the uniqueness of a single-origin and the consistency and approachability of a blend.
Say hello to Mersha Mersha. This Seasonal Blend is the first of it’s kind, combining two very different coffees from one amazing wet-mill in Ethiopia’s Chelelektu Kebele. A 50/50 blend of the mill’s washed and dry-processed coffees result in a cup full of both complex florals and candy-like ripe fruit flavors.
Boasting the best of both single-origin and blend worlds, this is the perfect coffee to jump-start your year.
I was first introduced to this coffee many months ago when I overheard a video of the coffee sorters joyfully singing as they cleaned the coffee and fastidiously checked it for defects. I was instantly enchanted by the energy and love that the sorters were putting into the process and I knew that this would be an extraordinary coffee.
Little did I know how major a role this coffee would play in my career as a coffee professional.
Long after watching that video, the day came for me to blind taste various coffees to make my selection for the Coffee Champs Barista Competition. Lo and behold, alongside more than a dozen others, the washed coffee from Chelelektu was on the cupping table. I was immediately attracted to the wild floral notes, the layered acidity, and the dense yet delicate sweetness.
I had set out to find something unique, clean, floral, fruity and, of course, something that I knew would score well with the judges. This coffee checked all of the boxes and then some. It was just what I was looking for.
So what’s this competition all about anyway? In simple terms, the Coffee Champs is a place where all of the best baristas and roasters gather under one roof for a couple of days to display their skills. Competitors pull out all of the stops, doing everything possible to make the very best cup of coffee. The coffees produced are then scored by a panel of judges to determine the best flavors and the highest execution of service. It’s a whole new level of specialty coffee and it keeps getting better each year.
But back to the coffee!
Chelelektu is a washing station where coffee cherries are cleaned fermented, dried, and sorted before export. It’s from this washing station that we source the components of Mersha Mersha. We named the blend Mersha Mersha after our friend Mersha Assefa, the man who owns and operations the station (pictured below).
The coffee processing methods in Ethiopia are fascinating. On a typical day, coffees are “washed-processed” using the washing station’s series of tanks and channels to clean and convey coffee with running water (at the rate of 6 liters/pound of coffee); If a low-volume delivery day, however, coffees are naturally processed to conserve water.
Washed Process (above). A large water tank is used to ferment the coffee for 24 hours before the coffee is left out to dry.
Natural Process (above). Cherries are left to dry with the skin intact for up to three weeks.
Processing methods can, in many ways, impact the flavor of coffee more than any other part of the supply chain. At Verve, we are always in the hunt for consistent, clean, sustainable, and innovative processing methods. In addition to meeting those standards, Chelelektu offers us the opportunity to source coffees that are from the exact same region but processed in two different ways, making this Seasonal Blend a true display of coffees dynamic nature.
As a cup of coffee, the delicate acidity, fruity flavors, and floral characteristics come together like a juicy pear and sweet white tea. As espresso, it smells like deep caramel and orange marmalade and hits the palate with the crisp acidity of a nectarine, the sweetness of dried mango, complex floral notes, and a pleasant bitterness reminiscent of grapefruit.
I speak on behalf of the entire Verve team in saying that our very favorite thing about Mersha Mersha is the story it bears and the love and energy that shines through. Whether you enjoy Mersha Mersha from the comfort of your home or in a Verve café, we are thrilled to share this special coffee with you.