Sweet with tart brightness and a delicate mouthfeel; fruity and floral with notes of lemon, lime, orange, cane sugar and chocolate.
Region Nensebo, Werka, Sidama
Farm Various smallholder farmers
Variety Ethiopian heirloom varieties
Altitude 1900–2050 masl
Proc. Method Washed
"Sidama is a province in the southern part of Ethiopia, and is a larger region that comprises Yirgacheffe town and its surrounding coffeelands. Its name is not as immediately recognizable as Yirgacheffe, but coffees from Sidama are diverse in profile and the highest-quality lots have crisp lemon acidity and lots of clarity.
This coffee is from the Werka Coffee Washing Station in the woreda,or village of Nensebo, in the town of Werka. The washing station is used by 700–800 farmers, each of whom grows coffee on an average of 3 hectares of land. The typical farm here is also planted with false banana and corn plants, and Acacia trees for shade. The farms range in altitude from 1900–2050 meters. Average daily temperatures of up to about 77° Fahrenheit, with cool evenings of about 60° Fahrenheit.
The washing station produces both Washed and Natural coffees: The Washed lots are fermented under water for 48 hours before the mucilage is removed; the coffee is dried on raised beds in a windy area, to speed the drying process. The washing water is purified and recycled for other uses.
Aside from its near-legendary status as the "birthplace" of Arabica coffee, there is much to love about Ethiopia as a producing nation, including but not limited to the incredible diversity of flavor and character that exists among microregions, specifically within the southwestern Gedeo Zone of Yirgacheffe within the region of Sidama—areas whose names alone conjure thoughts of the finest coffees in the world. Coffee was literally made to thrive in the lush environment Yirgacheffe’s forests provide, developing nuanced floral characteristics, articulate sweetness and sparkling acidity. However, coffee has also adapted to the more arid climate of Harrar, in the northeast of the country; The varieties planted there have historically had more chocolatey, rich undertones.
Processing, of course, also plays a significant part in what makes Ethiopian coffees distinct—both distinctly Ethiopian, as well as distinct from one another, Washed or Natural.
Until recently, coffee grown by smallholders and co-ops in Ethiopia were required to be sold through the ECX, where lots were classified by general region, quality (Grade 1–5), and escaped of most of their traceability. In March of 2017, the prime minister of Ethiopia approved a reform allowing cooperatively owned washing stations to export their coffee directly, which allows for separation of top coffee lots, higher prices for farmers, and increased recognition for the best quality coffees in Ethiopia.
Greater traceability allows us to buy more directly from the same washing stations year in and year out, and opens the potential for partnerships on a more micro level, with individual farmers or smaller groups within a community, to select out special lots."