Prototype Espresso is a seasonal coffee that is all about intense sweetness and bright acidity, with dominant fruit and floral flavours. This season we have chosen to highlight just one coffee in P...
Prototype Espresso is a seasonal coffee that is all about intense sweetness and bright acidity, with dominant fruit and floral flavours. This season we have chosen to highlight just one coffee in Prototype, the Ethiopian Hambella Natural. The roast is designed for espresso, so although we feel this is where it shines, it can also be enjoyed as a filter.
A Historic Beginning
Hambella’s story began with an amazingly inspirational woman called Muluemebet Emiru. She was the grandmother of the current owners of the farm. Muluemebet was Ethiopia’s first ever female pilot in the early days of aviation. As you would imagine she was quite a celebrity and rubbed shoulders with the highest in the land. After the second world war she was gifted a plot of land by none other than the Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie.
A Prototype Farm
To everyone's astonishment she decided to build a coffee farm. This was quite revolutionary in the 1930’s. Essentially the first of its kind and a prototype for the future. Even now the vast majority of coffee grown in Ethiopia is what is known as garden coffee. These are grown by small-holders on small plots of land that belong to families who multi-crop coffee with other subsistence and cash crops.
A Perfect Location
Located in Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest coffee growing region, the Hambella farm sits at around 1,900 meters above sea level. It cultivates Heirloom Ethiopian varieties that have flourished in this landscape for thousands of years. The farm now covers about 200 hectares and is a good source of employment for the local area, as there are 28 full time staff and about 700 during harvest time.
A Wider Vision
Part of Hambella’s vision has always been to improve the global recognition of Ethiopian coffee and also help the local community. They now have a state-of-the-art lab which is the first in Africa to be fully SCA certified. Not only does this help them to produce amazing coffee but they also provide pre and post-harvest training here for other farmers in the area.
They have also adopted a school of more than 400 students in Hambella where they have invested in uniforms, furniture, equipment and teacher’s salaries to help encourage staff retention.
Connected to the Land
They are currently working on drilling a well for the school and local community. Despite Muluemebet's lofty origins they have as a farming family, always had a strong connection with the land. They reinvest a portion of the profits in sustainable farming practices such as vermiculture, intercropping and an apiary for crop pollination. Coffee honey from the heady jasmine-like fragrance of the coffee flowers is truly a nectar worthy of the gods!
The Flavours Revealed
The Natural Hambella is dried for 21 days on raised beds. Soaking up the equatorial sun. Intensifying those dried fruit notes of raisin and redcurrant. Turning its flesh into flavour. Over the last few years we have noticed this natural getting cleaner in taste and this year sure is the cleanest yet! With perfume-like florals up front followed by zingy lime. There is just the merest hint of hops. Most of all expect the intense sweetness and full body. These are the essential characteristics inherent in the natural process. It's everything we love about Ethiopian coffee but amplified as the Prototype Blend Espresso!