Complex and sweet. Layer of blueberry, ripe mango, vanilla and sweet tangerine flavour. Light floral aroma. Tea-like body with lime under-tone.
Coffee is not the main crop that Ethiopian coffee farmers plant. Thus, it is customary for small coffee growers to deliver their cherries to a washing station and receive payment at a market rate.
This coffee is produced in Halo Beriti washing station in Gedeb, Yirgacheffe. Halo Beriti washing station was established in 2014 by Abeyot Ageze. He came from a coffee-growing family and continues the tradition. He planted the native varieties such as Dega, Wolisho varieties, 74110 and 74158.
The Halo Beriti washing station or mill is a small area of about 0.55 hectares. After buying the site, Abeyot and his family decided to plant high trees that function as a windbreaker. At the start of the operation, the washing station operated as a service partner for the whole Yirgacheffe region, but Abeyot decided to focus on the local community and process the coffees that are coming from the local smallholders. Currently, there are about 750 smallholder farmers that are actively bringing their cherries to the Halo Beriti washing station.
This particular lot is part of special preparation lots. In this process, the ripe cherries are repeatedly hand-sorted throughout the receiving and drying process to make sure only the perfect cherries are going to be processed.
This coffee is processed as a natural processed coffee. The process begins with farmers picking only the ripe cherries. Unlike washed processed, the whole cherries are spread thinly to dry on raised African beds with small holes to promote airflow for an even drying. The drying process takes 14–21 days until they reach the ideal moisture content. During this period, workers constantly sort the cherries, measure the moisture content and constantly turn the cherries to avoid mould, over-fermentation and rotting. When the cherries dried properly, the skin, dried fruit fleshed and parchments were removed mechanically, and the green coffee stored to “rest” before being exported.
The natural process coffee is known to be the oldest processing method. It’s most common in areas where water is scarce. During this time, a natural fermentation process is taking place, where the sugar in the cherries is fermented by the natural yeast that results in cup quality such as tropical fruits, blueberry and strawberry.
The Ethiopian Heirloom varieties is a term used to describe varieties that are native to the countries/region. Being considered the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia has an estimated 10,000–15,000 heirloom varieties that are grown in the wild. Most of them have not been formally genetically identified.
The Heirloom varieties are typically classified into two groups: JARC varieties and regional landraces. JARC varieties are developed by the Jimma Agricultural Research Centre such as 74110 and 74158 varieties. JARC varieties are designed to be more resistant to diseases while maintaining native characteristics. The regional landraces are varieties that are grown in the wild. These varieties are indigenous to a region, for example, the Badessa, Khudumi, Miqe, Sawa, and Wolichu varieties are native to the Guji area.
Farmers in Ethiopia typically own a small plot of land. Other than coffee, they grow many crops that are both for their consumption and to be sold at the market.
Having only part of the crops sold in the market, the Ethiopian government saw the need to standardise the pricing as a way to provide price stability for the farmers and improve the economic health of the country. Thus, in 2008 the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) was born.
The ECX is a platform to eliminate the barrier to sale by giving the farmers a reliable market and a relatively stable price. For coffee, the ECX defines a rule that coffees other than from a private estate or a cooperative society are required to be sold through the ECX. However, it creates a downside for independent specialty coffee growers and washing stations. The ECX rule classified their coffee as a commodity and removed farm/washing station traceability.
It creates a huge pushback from the specialty coffee industry. Many negotiations took place and were able to convince the government to make an iteration to make the information about washing stations available after coffees were purchased. Further, in March 2017, the ECX allowed direct sales from the washing stations. It turns out that not only increases traceability but also coffee prices.
Regarded as the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia is home to a mysterious, fascinating and astonishing world of coffee experiences and flavours. Check out our blog to find out more about coffee regions in Ethiopia.