FARM: Kochere Boji, multiple small holders
REGION: Kochere District, Godeo Zone
ALTITUDE: 1790-1900 MASL
FLAVOUR NOTES: Black tea, jasmine, zest and lemonade. Layers of florals and stone fruits compliment a sparkling acidity
So much has changed in Ethiopia since 2017 and it's due to these changes that this year we are buying more and more from the country. Only until recently were washing stations in Ethiopia able to sell their coffee directly to roasters and green suppliers. Prior to 2017, all coffees had to go through the Ethiopian Coffee Exchange 'ECX', a central government controlled system where all coffees were graded and allocated to a region. This would not only prevent traceability back to the washing station and co-ops, but also incentive for the farmers – knowing where your produce will be sold, the end user, that the processes you use as a farmer will be maximised, played with and celebrated by the roaster. Finally farmers are being rewarded for better quality produce - lots are separated and highlighted and these are then able to sell at higher prices and allowing these stations to work with the same buyers year on year.
Situated in the Kochere woreda of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region, the Boji washing station lies around 25km from the town of Yirgacheffe in the village of Ch'elelek'tu. Delivering to this station there are about 500 smallholders all farming on around 1 hectare of land each. This region is known for producing outstanding coffees and this lot is no exception to the rule.
Farmers will deliver their freshly picked cherry to the washing station where it is sorted for under ripe, ripe and over ripe cherry before being depulped. After this the coffee is then fermented and left for between 8-12 hours in water for the mucilage to be broken down by bacteria to give the refined floral and intense flavours we associate with the area. After this the coffee is washed and then placed to dry on raised beds for 10 -14 days until 11% moisture is reached.
It is only recently that these washing stations have been able to sell their coffee directly, as prior to 2017 all coffees had to go through the Ethiopian Coffee Exchange (ECX), where they were graded and allocated to a region. This would prevent traceability back to the washing station/coops. Now the farmers are being rewarded for producing better quality and separating the lots as they are able to sell at higher prices, enabling these stations and producers to build relationships and work with the same buyers year-on-year.