Ethiopian Limu Coffee Beans
We have been sourcing Ethiopian Limu coffee beans each year since 2007 but it wasn't until 2011 that we start offering the Limu (or Limou as it is sometimes referred to) for sale as a beautiful and rich tasting Single Origin coffee.
When you think of Ethiopia, it's generally Yirgacheffe and Sidamo's that get all the attention, but I'm going to let you in on one of the coffee industry's best kept secrets - quality Limu offers a more balanced and refined cup without the sometimes unwanted and difficulties presented by the fruits and wild acids often found in Yirgacheffe and Sidamo.
Ethiopia would have to be the most challenging (read frustrating) of all origins to source raw coffee - but the rewards are definitely there for the patient and persistent.
Demand always exceeds supply and lots have such broad variances in quality (or we should say politely......cup characteristic or nuance).
It is not unusual to wait up to 4 months for a good lot to arrive and often coffee companies make do with what's available now.
Take for example washed Yirgacheffe - there has been a chronic shortage in Australia since January 2014 and there never seems to be much light at the end of that dark tunnel.
Limu's are on par and at times superior to the other Ethiopians - in our opinion.
We like Limu coffee because it can be consistent from one lot to the next and has a cleaner, balanced cup without shooting off left field with intense berries like the Sidamos.
What can I expect from a Limu coffee ?
There is an undeniable nuance you are drinking an African coffee - intense, sweet with a long juicy finish.
Depending upon the season and specific lot, Limu will display a vibrant citric acidity that is both pleasant and satisfying.
The citric acidity is a key element in the clean cup character. Generally, it's a lime or lemon note that may sound incompatible with the flavor of classic coffee, but it is in fact quite complimentary to the cup experience.
There will be notes of cocoa and chocolate depending upon the roast depth.
We like to take the Limu to the point where there are both fruit and chocolate notes to be found in the coffee.
This creates what we refer to as a "twist".
At the front of the palate, you will immediately detect fruit - which is pleasing as a "black" and then in milk more of the cocoa notes will be producing at the back of the palate and during the finish.
There are hints of apricot nectar in this Limu that make the cup very complex and we particularly enjoy the juicy middle that leaves you wanting another cup.
We use about 3 to 4 different lots of Limu throughout a 12 month period as we can only contract around 4 months supply ahead.
As coffee is a 6 monthly crop and there are picking harvests within each crop (early, mid and late) there will be subtle differences in the lots.
African coffees are exceptional in their character and as such these crop and harvest differences are typically more pronounced in African coffees.
Preserving the stone fruit and citric notes of our Limu remains an important priority.
The coffee is from the Kaffa region grown between 1100 and 2000 masl.
It's a fully washed coffee with highly variable screen size - with about half at 15 and half at 17.
There are peaberries in around 8% of this lot, giving the cup an amazing complexity and finish.
Delivers a juicy cup, scoring 84 points by the SCAA rating system.