Chelektu - Ethiopia
Jasmine | Apricot | Honey
WHOLE BEAN COFFEE. CHOOSE BAG SIZE ABOVE.
- Origin: Kochere, Ethiopia
- Producers: Smallholders
- Variety: Metu-Bishari and Native Landrace
- Process: Washed
- Altitude: 2100-2300 meters above sea level
As of 2018, the Ethiopia Commodities Exchange (ECX) has relaxed its rules, which had prevented full traceability of coffees sold through it. There is an exceptionally large amount of coffee being grown and processed in the highlands of Ethiopia, and the ECX attempted to ensure that all of the exported coffee produced in the country was accounted for so that more value from its sale could stay within its borders.
The change means that we now know that this coffee comes to us from the Boji washing station in the kabele of Chelelektu, which is in the woreda of Kochere. These are all located in the Gediyo zone, where many of the Ethiopian coffees we buy come from.
Why does this amount of traceability matter? We can now keep better track of where our coffees come from year after year. We used to only know the kabele or in some cases the woreda of the coffee’s origin, while there are several washing stations located in each kabele.
The Boji station takes in and processes the coffee cherries from roughly 500 small-holder farmers from the surrounding areas. The cherries are sorted, floated, then depulped before being moved into a tank to undergo an underwater fermentation for between 36 and 72 hours, depending on the thickness and ripeness of the mucilage as well as the outside weather. The water is changed every 12 hours to minimize the risk of unwanted contamination. Once the managers decide the mucilage is ready to be washed off, it is agitated and sent to be graded through a series of channels to separate the coffees by density. Higher density correlates strongly to higher quality. Once the grading is complete, the coffee is moved to raised beds where it is dried to 11% moisture content over the course of 8-10 days.
We love this cup as it shows the same delicious characteristics as the Chelelektu coffees we’ve bought in previous years.
*A note on variety
It is often the case that coffees from Ethiopia are marketed as being composed of heirloom or landrace varieties, but it is not entirely accurate to say so. Such nomenclature often reinforces the idea that coffee is solely grown wild in Ethiopia and that the industry exists in a more primitive state than is true.While it is true that coffea arabica is indigenous to Ethiopia and there are definitely landrace varieties in most coffee farmers’ gardens or plantations, there are also several improved varieties that were selected over several generations of breeding at the Jimma Agricultural Research Center. These varieties have been propagated through various initiatives since the 70s and are now estimated by several groups to make up nearly 50% of the coffees that are grown in the areas that are famous for high quality coffee. The most common ones are known as the Metu-Bishari selections, named after the location where the selections’ parent plants were found. For this reason, we will include the term Metu-Bishari Selections alongside the term landrace where appropriate.