This coffee comes from a mill in the Gedeo zone, which is an area that we've been lucky enough to enjoy coffee from before. It's situated about four kilometres west of the town of Yirgacheffe, in the Guji area of Ethiopia. The mill is called Kerbal Aricha, and it's owned by Surafel Birhanu. It's supplied by around 650–750 smallholder farmers (mainly garden growers), who produce around five containers of specialty coffee and around ten containers of commercial-grade coffee per year. The altitude is varied but goes between 1,950 and 2,100 metres above sea level.
The varietals are anyone's guess, but they seem to be mainly made up from Typica and various other heirloom varietals. This is what you get in Ethiopia: lots of small growers with lots of different mutations and variations of plants, and little interest in separating them and finding out what's what. The term 'heirloom' is a strange one and people are starting to question its use as an accurate descriptor for the amazing coffees we're drinking from Ethiopia. Perhaps we should use the term 'wild' instead? That's certainly what Dale Harris thinks.
For processing, ripe cherries are delivered to the mill where they're graded and then placed onto raised drying beds in thin layers. They're turned every 2–3 hours in the first few days to avoid over-fermentation and mold growth. 4–6 weeks later (depending on weather and temperature) the beans are de-hulled, transported to Addis in parchment, and then milled, prior to shipping.
In the cup this coffee is as funky as funky can be. One ticket for a ride on board the funky bus, please! It's loaded with blueberries and has an amazing sparkling acidity. It's a fantastically exciting and different coffee.
Country: Ethiopia District: Yirgacheffe Zone: Gedeo Mill: Kebel Aricha Owner: Surafel Birhanu Processing: Sun Dried natural Producers: Approx. 650 - 700 smallholder farmers, who have on average 150-200 trees each Varietal: Heirloom – Typica and various other indigenous Ethiopian varietals Soil: pH 5.2 – 6.2, red brown, depth of over 1.5m Altitude: 1,950 - 2,100 m.a.s.l. Rainfall: 2,000mm per year (8 months rainy, 3-4 months dry) Temperature: 18ºC - 28ºC