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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Dagger Mountain Sidama Ardi
Dagger Mountain Sidama ArdiWe’ve come to the end of the road of the samples that Dagger Mountain Roastery sent my way. Even more sad, this coffee is sold out (although that’s a good problem for my friends in Valparaiso, IN!). Nonetheless, it’s worth sharing my thoughts with you so it can help you make good coffee purchasing choices in the future! When this coffee was available, it retailed directly from Dagger Mountain Roastery for $18/12oz bag. The coffee is made up of heirloom varietals grown around the town of Kilenso Moconissa in the Sidama region of Ethiopia. Altitude is 1850-1950masl in this part of the country and this is a natural process coffee with tasting notes of, “Strawberry, blueberry, cocoa nibs, orange wafer.”
So, first things first, which is correct? Sidama or Sidamo, because you’ll see it written both ways all the time. Well, both are correct, so never fret, my spell-checking friends! The language of Ethiopia, Amharic, uses its own non-Roman characters for letter, and there is no agreed way of transliterating the characters. As such, you’ll see multiple spellings all over coffee bags for places in Ethiopia, and they are all more or less correct! One last fun fact and then it’s on to the coffee… this coffee, Ardi, shares its name with Ardi, the oldest human-ish skeleton ever found. Ardi’s skeleton was dated to being 4.4 million years old and it was found in an excavation in Ethiopia.
Now, let’s check out this natural coffee from Dagger Mountain! It was a pretty light roast level, which is necessary when the roaster is trying to enhance the fruit flavors in a natural coffee instead of the chocolates and cocoas. The fragrance on the dry grounds was redolent of ripe strawberry and a bit of blueberry and it reminded me of Frankenberry cereal from when I was a kid! In the cup this proved to be a light and subtle take on this style of coffee, which can often be very sweet and rather heavy on the palate.
Dagger Mountain’s Sidama Ardi had a light body and mouthfeel for me. It had lots of fresh strawberry flavors in it, true to the fragrance on the grounds, and a fair amount of sweet lemon acidity, like a lemon candy. The aftertaste was fruity with a bit of chocolate and overall I found this coffee to be sweet and bright, but not at all cloying. Natural coffees can sometimes be too fruity, too fermented, too sweet and/or too heavy to some palates. I didn’t find any of that with this coffee and I actually liked it the best of the three that Dagger Mountain sent my way. It’s a shame it’s sold out, but keep your eyes peeled for their next natural coffee from Ethiopia and jump on it when you get the chance!