Another aromatically stunning coffee from Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia.
This exceptional lot was processed, dry milled and exported by Legu Trading. The coffee was grown by smallholder farmers living around the town of Banco Gotete in Gedeo County, Yirgacheffe region.
Most contributing farmers own less than a hectare of land, and they grow coffee simply as a backyard cash crop. Coffee will usually be interspersed with other subsistence crops, such as sweet potato, mangos and avocados. Varieties of coffee grown are usually interpreted to be ‘heirloom,’ as very little renovation takes place, and farmers simply inherit the trees of their parents. This is why the varieties are referred to as ‘heirloom’ by the industry. Locally, many farmers simply call them ‘Gedeo’ variety.
Income from coffee is important but minimal for most farmers due to the small size of their farms. As such, inputs are minimal – most coffee grown in the region is 100% organic, though not certified, as farmers simply don’t have the money to apply chemical fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides.
Legu trading tries to help with this situation by offering a premium price and by hiring as many individuals as possible in their mills and facilities. The company hires at least 300 people year round and up to 600 in the high season. All workers are paid a fair wage and receive full, 8 hour work days.
Coffee is selectively hand-picked before being delivered to collection points, usually within 10 km of the producers’ homes. Great care is taken upon delivery to separate out any overripe, underripe or damaged beans before consolidating with other lots for the road to the wet mill.
At least once a day, the collected coffee cherry is delivered to the mill, where it is pulped and then delivered to a fermentation tank, where it ferments for 12-18 hours depending on the climate at the time. After fermentation the coffee is fully washed through grading channels and is then delivered to dry on African beds. Once here, the parchment is turned regularly and protected from hot sun until it reaches the optimal humidity, at which point it is bagged and rested.