What is Organic and Wild Sidamo Coffee?
Another celebrated and wonderful Ethiopian coffee variety is Sidamo. This wonderfully rich coffee takes its name from Ethiopia’s southernmost province of Sidamo. It is considered to be one of the most common and widely available types of Ethiopian coffee, enjoyed and cherished by locals and the frequent centerpiece of many sacred coffee ceremonies.
Much like Yirgacheffe, Sidamo coffee reveals complex and rich aromas and delicious fruity and floral tastes when it is brewed. Where Yirgacheffe tends to be more citrusy, you can expect Sidamo to taste more earthy and nutty, while producing exquisitely delicious wild berry and wine flavor notes.
The Difference Between Wild Sidamo and Organic Sidamo
Wild Sidamo coffee just means that the Sidamo beans were picked and harvested from wild coffee trees that are found growing sporadically at high mountain elevations. Coffee that originates from natural occurring coffee trees is considered to be produced by the Forest Coffee method. On the other hand, organic Sidamo beans are picked and harvested from small plots of land run by local farmers. These agriculturally-maintained coffee trees grow alongside teff, oilseeds, sugarcane, and other crops. Coffee created this way is referred to as Garden coffee. Organic Sidamo can also be cultivated on large-scale groves. This is known as Plantation coffee. Both wild Sidamo and organic Sidamo coffee are both harvested at very high elevation, exceeding 6000 and are both considered Strictly High Grown.
Ethiopia’s All-Natural Growing Conditions for Sidamo Beans
You should also be aware that Ethiopian Sidamo coffee beans, whether sourced from wild coffee trees or local farms, are cultivated using 100% all-natural, GMO-free conditions. These high elevation coffee trees draw water from frequent mountain rainfall and its nutrients from the rich native African soil and stay untouched by fertilizer, pesticides, or other chemicals. The natural Ethiopian coffee process takes longer to cultivate coffee beans than the mass-produced coffees of Brazil and Colombia but the result is untampered coffee beans with the finest, unmatched quality. All-natural growing conditions is one of the defining characteristics that give Ethiopian coffees its Grade 1 specialty status and makes them stand apart from any other coffees in the world.
Processing Method of Sidamo Beans
While there are many different methods for processing Ethiopian coffee beans, we’ll cover the most commonly used method: washed and dry processing. Washed is a process where the coffee cherries (fruit still attached) are submerged in water right after they’re picked. This helps to identify the desirable cherries, with low-quality coffee cherries floating to the top while good, ripe cherries sinking. The skin of the ripe cherries is then stripped away usually with a mill machine or pushed against a screen. Then, the Sidamo beans are laid out to dry under the sun and constantly moved around with rakes to ensure that all sides receive adequate drying. The fully washed method guarantees that overripe or low-quality coffee cherries aren’t going to negatively alter the pure and singular taste of your delicious Ethiopian Sidamo coffee. On the other hand, the dry processing method is when coffee cherries are laid out to dry under the sun with the fruit still attached. The bean stays enclosed within the fruit right before it is ready to be delivered to exporters. This method results in coffee beans with very expressive fruity flavors such as blueberries, chocolate, and even wine.
Sidamo Coffee Characteristics
Aroma: You’ll find the aroma of Sidamo to be very delicately floral with strong notes of lemon-citrus. This pleasant morning fragrance is perfect for welcoming the start of your day with open arms.
Acidity: You’ll appreciate the Sidamo for having a light and low acidity, while still tasting very bright and dry. Many coffee lovers describe Sidamo as having a delicate and crisp acidity. Coffee with low levels of acidity also won’t cause any heartburn if you happen to be prone to it.
Mouthfeel: Also referred to as the body, the mouthfeel is the sensory texture of the coffee as it rolls around in your mouth. Sidamo’s mouthfeel can be described as full-bodied bordering on slightly buttery without being too heavy or syrupy.
Flavor: One of the finest coffees in the world, Sidamo shares a similar taste profile to the popular Yirgacheffe with strong overtones of wild berries and lemon-citrus. Sidamo coffee also embodies a distinct, all-natural sweetness that makes it ideal for drinking just black. We also found both the Wild and Organic Sidamo to have a very nuanced and subtle nutty earthy taste as well.
Finish: This refers to the lingering aftertaste in your mouth and tongue long after you’ve finished your coffee. Considering how full-bodied it is, you’ll be very pleased with Sidamo’s soft and sweet aftertaste finish that is savory without feeling too viscous.
How to Brew Sidamo Coffee
One tip that you should remember when brewing Sidamo is not using a paper filter as paper filters can absorb coffee oils that rob the coffee of its rich flavors.
Instead, we recommend 3 ways of drinking Sidamo coffee
Pour Over Method for Sidamo Coffee
Step 1: Use filtered water and heat it up to anywhere from 75 to 85 degrees Celsius. We recommend using a barista’s thermometer. The trick is to not use boiling as it can actually burn off the rich flavors.
Step 2: Scoop out around 5.5 grams of Sidamo coffee grounds and place it into your cup
Step 3: Now you’re ready to pour. Remember to alternate between pouring high and low so the Sidamo grounds mix nicely with the hot water.
Step 4: Let it the coffee brew for a couple of minutes. A gorgeous golden brown crust will form on the top.
Step 5: Use a spoon to gently break the crust. Now for the first step of coffee cupping – lower your nose to the cup and breath in the delicious aromas.
Step 6: Now you’re ready to taste it. The idea is to quickly slurp a spoonful into your mouth. This initial slurp will activate your taste receptors. Keep slurping and consciously try to see how the Sidamo tastes on the 5 different parts of your tongue. You’ll be surprised at all of the subtle flavor tones that your tongue will pick up!
French Press Method
Step 1: Prepare hot water in a pot or kettle. Make sure it is not boiling, but just under boiling. The idea here is to use hot water to mix the coffee, not burn it.
Step 2: Place 7 to 8 grams of medium grind Yirgacheffe coffee into your French press.
Step 3: Slowly pour 200 ml of hot water into your French press and gently stir the contents with a spoon.
Step 4: Insert the plunger on top of your French press just above the water. But don’t plunge it yet. Let the hot water and Yirgacheffe coffee grinds brew for a couple of minutes.
Step 5: Steadily push all the way down on the plunger. This will push all of the grinds to the bottom.
Step 6: Pour your expertly prepared Yirgacheffe coffee into your cup and enjoy it.
The reason why we recommend the French press is because it uses a metal filter, which does not absorb any of the precious oils as paper filters do.
How to Cold Brew Sidamo Coffee
A cold brew works very well at bringing out Sidamo coffee’s fruity and floral sensations. Cold brew coffee is also superb to serve during summertime so if you’re ready to enjoy Ethiopian ice coffee, please follow these instructions:
Step 1: Grind your Sidamo beans coarsely. This will preserve the coffee’s acidity.
Step 2: Combine the coarse Sidamo grounds with filtered water.
Step 3: Let it steep overnight, or at least 12 hours.
What is going to happen is the coffee grounds will slowly emulsify or mix and absorb with the water. The cold brew method also results in a smoother-tasting coffee with less bitterness.
How to Drink Your First Cup of Sidamo Coffee
The highlight of drinking Ethiopian is experiencing a whole universe of rich flavor tones.
Tip 1: If you’re a coffee newbie, here’s one tip to remember:Slurp, Don’t Sip
Tip 2: Your tongue has 5 major taste centers: the front, the two sides, the center and the back.
Tip 3: When you take your first couple slurps, try to see what flavors your tongue can detect!
Tip 4: Different Tongue Tastes with Sidamo Coffee
Tip 5: Although everyone has a different taste palette, many coffee lovers have reported Sidamo coffee having a strong floral taste akin to jasmine and fruity undertones that remind them of ripe watermelon and peaches.
Best Food Pairings for Sidamo
With Wild Sidamo and Organic Sidamo having a natural sweetness with pronounced hints of earthiness and nutty undertones, we strongly recommend pairing this wonderful Ethiopian coffee with fruity offerings such as lemon cheesecake, blueberry muffins, and raspberry scones. Both Wild and Organic Sidamo will pair perfectly with salty snacks such as crispy potato chips and pretzels too.