700 small coffee producers organized around the Kebel Aricha coffee mill, located in the Gedeo Zone of the Yirgacheffe district come together to create this wonderful coffee. The Gedeo Zone is named after the Gedeo people who are indigenous to this area.
Small coffee farmers deliver ripe cherries to the Kebel Aricha mill where the cherries are sorted and pulped. After pulping, the beans are fermented for 36 to 48 hours and then washed. The wet beans in parchment are placed on raised drying beds in thin layers and turned every 2 to 3 hours during the first few days of the drying process. Depending on weather, the beans are dried for 10 to 12 days until the moisture in the coffee beans is reduced to 11.5 percent. Then the beans are transported to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, to be milled and bagged prior to export.
This coffee, from the region of Yirgacheffe, is from the eastern slope of the lush green mountains of the Rift Valley at an altitude of 1,880 meters above sea level. The remote hills of this region are coffee’s homeland. Many of the plants being harvested are wild or semi-wild heirloom cultivars. The soil is extremely iron rich, conditions to which the coffee plants are perfectly adapted.
Washed coffees from Yirgacheffe tend to be mild, delicate, subtle and floral with an almost tea-like body. Coffees in Ethiopia are typically traceable to the washing station level, where smallholder farmers—many of whom own less than 1/2 hectare of land, and as little as 1/8 hectare on average—deliver cherry by weight to receive payment at a market rate. The coffee is sorted and processed into lots without retaining information about whose coffee harvest is in which bag or which lot.