Region: Aricha, Gedeo Zone
State: Southern Nations, Nationalities & People’s Regional State (SNNPR)
Elevation: 1900-2100 m.
Arabica Varietals: Heirloom
Process: Natural on raised beds
Farm: 650-700 local small holder farms
In the cup: Complex fruit blend, mid body, creamy texture and dried flowers aroma.
Coffee still grows wild in Ethiopia’s mountain forests. Ethiopian farmers cultivate coffee in four different systems, which include forest coffee, semi-forest coffee, garden coffee and plantation coffee. About 98% of the coffee in Ethiopia is produced on small farms and it is the country’s most important export. Ethiopia is Africa’s third largest coffee producer. There are about 700,000 coffee smallholders in Ethiopia, of which 54 percent are in semi forest areas. Coffee has been part of their indigenous cultural traditions for more than 10 generations.
Southern Ethiopia coffees like this one are largely produced from distinctive indigenous Ethiopian varieties of Arabica long grown in the region. This is a dry-processed or “natural” version, meaning the beans were dried inside the fruit rather than after the fruit has been removed, as is the case with wet-processed or “washed” coffees.
These small coffee farmers deliver ripe cherries to Aricha mill where the cherries are sorted dried on raised beds in thin layers. Cherries are regularly turned every 2 to 3 hours in the first few days to promote even drying of the cherries. Four to six weeks later the dried cherries are hulled and transported to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. They are stored in cool temperature to retain quality and only to be milled and bagged prior to export. Coffees in Ethiopia are typically traceable to the washing station level where smallholder farmers own less than 1/2 hectare of land on average.