Sweet and silky stone fruits: Apricot and peach
Good things are worth waiting for. We've had some great washed Yirgacheffe coffees on our list in the past few years and this is no exception. Sweet and delicate yellow fruits and florals as we all hope for from the birthplace of coffee.
Situated in the Kochere woreda of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region, the Chelchele washing station receives cherry from smallholders all farming on around 1 hectare of land each.
Among coffee-producing countries, Ethiopia holds near-legendary status not only because it’s the “birthplace” of Arabica coffee, but also because it is simply unlike every other place in the coffee world. Unlike the vast majority of coffee-growing countries, the plant was not introduced as a cash crop through colonization. Instead, growing, processing, and drinking coffee is part of the everyday way of life, and has been for centuries, since the trees were discovered growing wild in forests and eventually cultivated for household use and commercial sale.
From an outsider’s perspective, this adds to the great complexity that makes Ethiopian coffee so hard to fully comprehend—culturally, politically, and economically as well as simply culinarily. Add to that the fact that the genetic diversity of the coffee here is unmatched globally—there is 99% more genetic material in Ethiopia’s coffee alone than in the entire rest of the world—and the result is a coffee lover’s dream: There are no coffees that are spoken of with the reverence or romance that Ethiopian coffees are.
Ethiopian Coffee Exchange
It is only recently that these 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.
A mix of local varieties, such as native coffee of forest origin transferred to family smallholder plots. The varieties are referred to collectively as Ethiopian Heirloom, which is a myriad of local native Typica hybrids and new improved varieties based on the old strains.