Roaster’s Notebook

Greetings coffee lovers! It’s Summer, and we’ve got our first shipment of Brazilian Fruit Basket, last summer’s popular single-origin coffee, revered for its superior flavor for iced coffee and cold-brew coffee. The new harvest is in, and finally available. We roasted our first test batches this week! We’ll start serving it at Michael’s Cafe American beginning July 12th. The top stars of this season’s harvest are all from Latin America.  

We’re featuring Brazilian Chocolat, Brazilian Espresso Lady, as well as our enduring favorite, Guatemala Antigua

Our best unexpected discovery from last year was Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Chelelektu. I hope it returns.

It has the lovely perfume of Africa’s best coffees, and the characteristic blueberry taste, similar to the Ethiopian Harrar Longberry Grade 4, but at a better price, more fruity-tasting acidity, and a lighter body, which makes for a delicious iced coffee.


It’s also fun to make espresso beverages with. It pairs well with with pastry, bread and jam, banana bread, chocolate chip cookies, or any fresh baked treat.

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Chelelektu isn’t just beautiful, it’s gorgeous! It stands out from the others like a glamorous a movie star. 

Here’s how one coffee reviewer describes it:

“Deeply sweet, intricately rich. Raspberry, sandalwood, tangerine zest, honeysuckle, a hint of cinnamon in aroma and cup. Elegant, juicy acidity; plushly smooth mouthfeel. The long, confident finish leads with raspberry notes, then consolidates to crisp sandalwood and tangerine zest.”

Other new beans:

Indonesian Mitra  — low acidity, smooth, medium bodied, like a good Sumatra, one of the first coffees I loved. Great all around coffee.

Rwanda Sky Hill – The most versatile coffee we have. Very balanced for a single origin coffee. Tastes good medium-dark roasted, and makes great espresso.

Ethiopian Harrar Longberry – We’re still testing this one, it’s not the Ethiopian tastes I was expecting! Come try some, tell us what you think.

— July 10, 2017

Coming up this April Black Ship Coffee is proud to introduce a very special single-origin coffee that we have a limited supply of, Ethiopian Harrar Longberry Grade 4. 


It’s a natural process variety that, unlike washed beans, leaves some of the dried fruit on the seed. It’s prized for its unique berry-like flavor. Rich, wild, and condensed, similar to blueberries, or “blueberry pie”. Here’s some information about this unique coffee.

Grade 4
Region Harrar
Growing Altitude 1510-2120 meters
Arabica Variety Heirloom Varieties
Harvest Period October-February
Milling Process Natural, Sun-dried
Aroma Berry, Earthy, Chocolate
Flavor Typical moka flavor, marked blueberry
Body Heavy
Acidity Fair to light acidity

The Harrar region lies in the Eastern Highlands of Ethiopia. As one of the main growing regions in Ethiopia, Harrar has a reputation for producing distinctive wild-varietal Arabica. Once picked, the coffee can go through a variety of milling processes. Harrar beans are usually natural processed coffees, which produces the distinct berry notes it is most recognized for. The coffee is labeled as longberry (large), shortberry (smaller), or Mocha (peaberry).  Ethiopian Harrar can have a strong dry edge, winy to fruit like acidity, rich aroma, and a heavy body.  In the best Harrars one can observe an intense aroma of blueberries or blackberries. (source)

For our cafe, we’ve christened it Ethiopia Blue. (Much easier to say than Ethiopian Harrar Longberry Grade 4) And it’s some of the most exotic coffee we’ve ever had the pleasure to introduce.

Our supply is limited, so we’re offering it as custom roasted by special order only. So contact us if you want to get on the list! Or ask Michael or Chizuko, at the cafe.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in tasting 100% Ethiopia Blue, we’ll be arranging a coffee tasting later this month.

While supplies last, we’re also introducing it as an ingredient in a new African blend, with Ethiopian varieties flavored with some of this rare Ethiopia Harrar Longberry grade 4, in a blend we call African Queen.


African Queen is also the nickname of our Sonofresco roaster, because when it’s roasting coffee and producing smoke it’s reminiscent of the boiler on the ship made famous by Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn in the 1951 movie The African Queen.



What’s the best time to buy coffee? 

Wednesday. We roast every Monday. Fresh roasted beans need 48 -72 hours for the flavor to develop, and they are at peak freshness by mid-week. Come and get some today!

Can I order coffee online?

Yes you can. Put in your order by Sunday, and we’ll roast it on Monday, then you can pick it up at the Cafe on Wednesday, or anytime during the week. Or, order any time you like. We’ll have your coffee beans ready for you. Your fresh-roasted coffee will be ready to pick up 48 hours later.*

UPDATE: you can now use our Facebook page to place an order. Click the “Book Now” button, and make your selection. Your coffee bean order will be custom roasted.


Do you deliver, or ship coffee? 

Not yet, but we’re working on it!

Check back for more news and updates, as the new spring menu unfolds!

— Michael

*fresh roasted coffee needs 48-72 hours after roasting for the flavor to develop and be ready to enjoy.