When The Weeknd sang about not being able to feel his face, turns out the “mystery” drug that caused such a sensation (or lack thereof) may have actually been coffee, or at least that’s what today’s big news in the brand collaboration space would seem to imply. Real name Abel Tesfaye, the multi-platinum recording artist along with XO, his record label, have teamed up with Blue Bottle Coffee for Samra Origins, “a brand and product line celebrating Ethiopian culture and excellence in coffee.”
Announced today, Samra Origins pays tribute to Tesfaye’s family’s heritage and is even named after his mother. “Ethiopian culture is an important part of my identity and I’m proud to work alongside the Blue Bottle Coffee team to shine a light on Ethiopian traditions, values, and of course, coffee,” Tesfaye says in the press release. “Growing up, I watched my mother perform Buna Tetu, a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. This sensory experience helped shape my understanding of community and taught me to always honor my roots. Samra Origins is a true passion project that I hope will inspire curiosity and encourage support for Ethiopia’s people, while also spreading the warmth and friendship so ingrained in Ethiopian culture.”
Launching May 9th, Samra Origins will feature a curated collection of Ethiopian coffees, starting off with the Exceedingly Rare Ethiopia Wolde Faye Koricha COE #7, a natural processed single origin coffee from the Oromia region produced by Wolde Faye Koricha that, as the name suggests, took seventh place at the 2022 Ethiopian Cup of Excellence with a score of 89.78. Flavor notes include fresh fruit and bright florals, the first release from Samra Origins will be available exclusively through their website for $65 for 100 gram tin. (You can sign up for the waiting list here.)
Then, later this summer, Samra Origins and Blue Bottle will be releasing a blend developed by Tesfaye, his mother Samra, and Blue Bottle’s Head of Innovation & Quality Benjamin Brewer. For the blend, Tesfaye and his mother cupped through three different variations to find the one “most similar to the coffee Samra brews at home” that Blue Bottle then fined tuned for the release. Unlike the first offering, the Samra Origins blend will be released to a wider audience and will be available online and in select US Blue Bottle cafes, where it will also be served as a cold brew.
As part of the partnership, Blue Bottle has committed to donating to Tesfaye’s XO Humanitarian Fund. Administered by the World Food Program USA, the XO Humanitarian Fund “supports the United Nations World Food Programme’s lifesaving emergency operations in hunger hotspots around the world, with a special focus on Ethiopia where an estimated 11.8 million people require urgent humanitarian food assistance.”
For more information or to get on the waitlist for the first release, visit Samra Origin’s official website.
All photos courtesy of Blue Bottle Coffee