Ethiopia is known as the birthplace of coffee. There are more than 1.1 million coffee farmers (smallholders) representing 95% of the production. The varieties are referred to collectively as Ethiopian Heirloom, which is a myriad of local native Typica hybrids and new improved varietals based on the old strains. The two main growing areas are in the west and south. Most coffees are organic by default.
Sidamo is famous for its clean, floral, and citric washed coffees and “high quality” sundried with genuine and unique red berry flavors. The Sidama zone covers a large area with very different growing conditions. You can find highland areas of forest coffees in remote places as well as dense production in the well-known areas like Aleto, Wondo, Darra, and Dale. There are currently about 50 Cooperatives in Sidama with a total of 90,000 members. Natural sundried coffees are common, but the majority of the coffee is washed. There are mainly small family plots of both recently planted trees of improved varietals and traditional old varieties. The variety is called Sidamo type. Organic fertilizer is common, pruning less common. All the cooperatives in Ethiopia belong to a Union, in this case the Sidamo Union, that sell and export the coffee. They also take care of dry milling and grading before export.
For more information on Ethiopia, see our earlier posts here
Zone: Dalle, Sidama
Woreda/Local municipality: Wonsho
Altitude: Coffee grown at about 2000 masl
Producers: 1650 smallholders.
Varietals: Ethiopian Heirloom. Improved varietals and native coffee of forest origin transferred to family smallholder plots and gardens. In this case referred to as Sidamo type.
Grade: Screen 14 and up.
Production: Pulped and wet fermented, graded in washing channels, soaked in water and sundried.
Process: Cherries are hand sorted for unripes and overripes by the farmers before they go in to production. A 3 disc Agaarde pulper removes the skin and pulp. The coffee is then fermented under water for 24-36 hours, dependent on the weather conditions. It’s then graded in washing channels in to two grades based on density before soaked under clean water in tanks for 12-24 hours.
Drying: Sun dried 10 – 15 days on African drying beds on hessian cloths. Coffees are covered in plastic during midday and at night.
Soil: Volcanic deposits, rich in minerals and nitrogen.
Notes: Bokasso is part of a project to improve lot separation. They are using trace ability sheets to track coffees from days of production at drying tables all the way to the warehouse
Cupping notes: Jasmine, and mature citric aromas. Sweet, rich and ripe with a citrusy acidity profile. Has a range of complex flavors like mature cherries and yellow fruit, black tea, red berries and lemon. Dense and rich, but delicate with good intensity and juiciness.