Monday, February 09, 2015

Bullet train black gold awaits Ethiopian roasters

(Feb 09, 2015, (JIMMA, ETHIOPIA))--On a typically sunny January day in southwestern Ethiopia, smallholder coffee farmers gather beneath red, blue and orange canvases, propped up by wooden stakes, to watch and participate in a coffee-tasting competition with demanding Japanese standards.

Naomi Nakahira, a coffee adviser with Ueshima Coffee Co. (UCC), one of Japan’s biggest coffee companies, smells and slurps his way, along with three internationally qualified Ethiopian cuppers, through a selection of the farmers’ natural forest coffees, marking them for aroma, taste and the like. The majority score 80 or above out of 100 — enough to be classified as specialty coffee.

This February, commuters on the Tokaido Shinkansen, running between Osaka and Tokyo, can pass their own judgment on the product when a previous batch of coffee from the Belete-Gera Forest is sold on Japan’s famed bullet train. Read more from Japan Times »

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