Corner store greens - Limu, Yirgacheffe, Sidamo (Toronto)

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
happycat

Postby happycat » Mar 03, 2019, 6:13 pm

I feel pretty silly today... I've been buying green coffee from Greenbeanery in Toronto the last couple of years. I buy in 5-10lb bags to save money. My wife's apt is across the river from Merchants of Green Coffee but their prices strike me as too high per pound. Sometimes I search the web for green suppliers but shipping is prohibitive and prices don't seem so great and others don't sell in bulk.

So imagine my surprise walking down Danforth on Saturday night and stopping outside Desta Market because I see a shelf with stacks of bags and plastic jars of green coffee beans . I go in and they are super friendly (and light up when I mention I have a jebena) and they confirm it's Yirgacheffe so I buy a kilo. They tell me I should buy some small cups (I know they're called cinis) and they mention an address but I forget it by the time I get home.

Curious, I start looking for Ethiopian places where they might have these cups and someone has posted a bunch of pictures from inside the Kullubi market (a kind of corner store with a special section) only a few blocks from my wife's apt. So I go down there today and they have Jebenas (half the price of the ones from Bu'na cafe or Amazon— argh!) and special electric heaters for Jebenas (at Bu'na I asked about how to heat a round bottomed jebena and they didn't mention this kind of heater) and green coffee packaged up in kilo bags: Yirgacheffe and Limu. The greens look good. So I buy Limu this time. And again the fellow there is quite friendly when I talk about jebenas and cinis (he's got sets of them) and he says next time I come back I should check them out.

I go up the street and there's the Kabul Market and they've got green beans on the shelf, too— Limu, Yirgacheffe— from a couple suppliers.

And the prices at these markets are better than Greenbeanery and I save on travel costs and I can buy a kilo instead of 10 lbs and still pay less. So I start wondering about how silly it was to be searching through the web and going to places that charge more when Ethiopians running little markets around me stock the stuff on their shelves. Of course they do! Coffee is central to their culture, if the books I've read are correct.

When I read God in the Cup, I was struck by stories of the top independent coffee roasters buying Ethiopian greens— the author claimed the roasters didn't really know what they were getting. All those beans are mostly small landowners and people with rights to harvest greens from cloud forests— they're not huge industrial farms. So why wouldn't the coffee in the corner market, imported by Ethiopians for Ethiopians be tasty? (they also import injera bread from Ethiopia regularly too... yes, importing BREAD due to the teff flour— of course I bought the bread as well). So I doubt freshness is a problem.

I got home and roasted up the Limu and it was quite tasty.

It's worth thinking about your community— Toronto is hugely and delightfully multicultural... but I imagine there are Ethiopian communities in all kinds of cities around the world. Have you checked out the little markets they might be running? There might be stacks of tasty green coffee and friendly people to talk to about it.
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yakster

Postby yakster » Mar 03, 2019, 7:24 pm

That's how I got started roasting in San Jose after finding bags of green coffee from Ethiopia at a local market with coffee ceremony supplies. The bags weren't marked and I have no idea how old the greens were, but it was a good start.
-Chris

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happycat

Postby happycat » replying to yakster » Mar 03, 2019, 8:01 pm

Freshness was my main concern, for sure. But they were a lovely green without visible defects and when I opened the sealed bag they smelled amazing and they smelled great roasting, too. I actually think they are fresher and better quality than I've got from an coffee greens supplier here in the city. After drinking the Limu my only thought was amplifying the flavours I was getting (not what I needed to tame)

If I lived in the States I would most certainly use Sweet Maria's but here in the Great White North, shipping is ridiculous :shock:
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TheN5OfOntario

Postby TheN5OfOntario » Mar 03, 2019, 11:12 pm

happycat wrote:
It's worth thinking about your community— Toronto is hugely and delightfully multicultural... but I imagine there are Ethiopian communities in all kinds of cities around the world. Have you checked out the little markets they might be running? There might be stacks of tasty green coffee and friendly people to talk to about it.


Awesome post, thanks for this! I'm also in Toronto and also used to buy from Green Beanery.. do the places though mentioned only sell green? I don't roast myself but I do love finding good Yirgacheffe...

Aguirre

Postby Aguirre » Mar 04, 2019, 9:17 am

Very insightful post indeed. I right away rushed to look for a local Ethiopian market and it turns out there's a very promising one close to my place. In the pictures from Yelp I could already spot some green beans jars.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/abyssinia-mark ... alexandria

Visiting soon!

happycat

Postby happycat » Mar 04, 2019, 11:30 am

TheN5OfOntario wrote:Awesome post, thanks for this! I'm also in Toronto and also used to buy from Green Beanery.. do the places though mentioned only sell green? I don't roast myself but I do love finding good Yirgacheffe...


I think Kullubi had dark roast.

Desta might've had roasted beans.

Kabul, I don't remember.
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happycat

Postby happycat » Mar 04, 2019, 11:32 am

Aguirre wrote:Very insightful post indeed. I right away rushed to look for a local Ethiopian market and it turns out there's a very promising one close to my place. In the pictures from Yelp I could already spot some green beans jars.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/abyssinia-mark ... alexandria

Visiting soon!


I think what kind of sells me is that the packaging I saw looked pretty plain... in the sense of done quickly for sale and consumption rather than done to be stocked on a shelf for a year.

I plan on trying everything I find.

Let us know about freshness— greens aroma, roasting aromas, taste, defects.
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happycat

Postby happycat » Mar 10, 2019, 6:28 pm

Desta's yirgacheffe is quite nice roasted on a Rao curve.

As a v60 91-92c water, sweet with hints of lemon essence. Kind of like coffee and tea... caramel and lemon essence. Lingering sweetness.

I visited Kera Fresh Meat. They have lots of jebenas and cinis and packaged greens as well as burlap sacks of them. Their Jimma looked on the brown side to me. I already had yirgacheffe. I had a closer look at the jebenas and I realize mine is quite a bit nicer... mine looks hand made, not mass produced.

I visited Holrds also on Danforth and picked up a bag of Sidamo greens labelled as a product of Alkebulan Coffee Roasting Inc. THey also had yirgacheffe and Jimma but again, the Jimma was more dull coloured than I would like and I could see beans with issues. They also had a bag of Harar. I was quite intrigued but the Harar raw beans were a very wide range of colours including very light and very dark almost black... which made me wonder how they were processed and dried. I was tempted but also apprehensive so I left them. Perhaps a dark roast would be fine. No idea.

Another item at Holrds were thermo flasks... like airpots or insulated thermoses... but wild designs and colours... golds, greens, with fancy crest shapes at the top. We later saw something similar used on someone's table in the Jimma cafe.

I am hoping to find some nice green Harar... there is a Harar market in the west end to check out. Also the label on the Holrds bag is "Alkebulan" and they are a local importer roaster and they advertise Harar in their website.... the site doesn't seem to deal with greens properly though so I've made an inquiry.

Still having fun discovering bags of green coffee in these little markets, trying different kinds of injera (the import from Ethiopia is quite fermented... tastes a bit of pickle or mustard.. nice actually)
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happycat

Postby happycat » Mar 12, 2019, 3:56 pm

The Alkebulan Sidamo was quite delicious... roasted on a Rao-style curve (a little shorter than 25% though to temper the dread flick by dropping the beans early before the flick got high) and pulled as espresso Americano. Balanced sweetness and acidity of a toffee?

The Kullubi Limu roasted on Rao style curve... also delicious as americano. sweet, almost stereotypical coffee flavour you might taste in a dessert, with a hint of black pepper?
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happycat

Postby happycat » Mar 16, 2019, 10:20 pm

More places... west of Greenbeanery on Bloor

Harar Grocery near Landsdowne and around 1318 Bloor has the usual suspects... green Yirgacheffe and Limu
Ossington Minimart 884 Bloor has a big barrel of green Limu, as well as Akebulan bags of Sidamo
Freta Food and Convenience 831 Bloor has unmarked greens and the fellow there didn't know where they were from

Lots of places to grab greens.

Prices range 13-15 per kilo
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