Ethiopia was everyone's first taste of specialty right? I remember mine - I think it was from Yirgacheffe. It was amazing. The first cafe I worked in and I was just a measly till girl. I didn't really get it all before that, but that's what made me realise there was something in this thing GODDAMMIT.
Ethiopia's vast, vast history makes it one of (if not THE) most important origin in the specialty coffee world. Lauded as the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia has 99% of the worlds diversity for coffee plants, a statistic which has a huge factor to play in the incredible range of flavour diversity we see in the origin; the massive amount of plants in Ethiopia are categorised as "Local Landrace."
Ethiopia is one of the biggest exporters of coffee, but coffee is just as important within the country as it is outside of the country - with coffee ceremonies still popular and the phrase "coffee is our bread," Ethiopia is the origin.
DIIMA BENTI NENKA
NOTES: syrup sweetness, stone fruit, black tea
VARIETY: Kuruma, Wolisho
REGION: Benti Nenka, West Guji
ALTITUDE: 2000 - 2500 masl
NO. OF SMALLHOLDERS: 500 farmers
This natural coffee takes its name from the Oromiffa word for red, “diima,” from a collection of smallholder farms that produce a selection of the highest quality and beautifully vibrant red cherries in the heart of Guji. These Guji farms are lucky to have some of the most perfect conditions for producing high scoring cups, sitting at 2000-2500 masl. Lots of time was spent this year on improving the land, planting new seedlings over old trees and preparing for a heavy season of rainfall - the ideal situation before a busy harvest.
The Diima Benti Nenka #3 is made up of two Local Landrace varieties, the Wolisho and the Kurume. With notes of candylike fruits and black tea this cup has an intense sweetness which amazed cuppers at the table.
NOTES: floral, funky, full of fruit
VARIETY: Dega, Wolisho
REGION: Konga Woreda, Yirgacheffe
ALTITUDE: 2000 masl
FARMER: Kebede Maro
To kick off the new season from Ethiopia is this special lot from producer Kebede Maro. That’s right, this lot is from a single farm and single producer, and that kind of traceability was not possible for a very long time in Ethiopia. This natural processed lot - #1 is made up of the Dega and Wolisho varieties, grown at around 2000masl in the Konga Woreda in Yirgacheffe.
In the cup it’s very floral, a little funky and full of fruit!
NOTES: floral, milk chocolate, sweet like summer
VARIETY: local landrace
REGION: Bombe Mountains
ALTITUDE: 2300 masl
MILL OWNER: Asefa Dukamo Korma
One last coffee from the Daye Bensa group! This one is from the Hamasho washing station, also located in the now famous Bombe mountains in the Sidama Bensa area. This mill has 1500 members growing coffee in the region around it at about 2300masl. This high altitude results in slow maturation and therefore small beans. This is a lovely coffee to round things off before the new harvest arrives. It’s very tropical, floral and sweet like summer!
NOTES: floral, milk chocolate
VARIETY: 74221, 74212
ALTITUDE: 1990 - 2190 masl
MILL OWNER: Asefe and Mulugeta Dukamo
Our second natural Ethiopia is from a sister mill of Bombe - Shantawene in the Bensa District of Sidama.
The Co-op has 1500 members that bring their cherry to this mill, growing coffee at between 1990 and 2190 masl. This lot is made up of varieties 74221 and 74212 which are Coffee berry disease resistant varieties selected by researchers in 1974. At the mill the cherry is floated to sort under ripes and then dried on raised beds for 14 to 18 days before being transported to Addis for final sorting. This coffee is somehow familiar and yet different. It reminds us of the Bombe but with floral, tropical and sweet milk chocolate notes
Daye Bensa is a coffee export company, founded by the brothers Asefa and Mulugeta Dukamo, in 2006. They work with washing stations in the sidama Bensa area including the much loved Bombe, Shantawene, Keramo, and Hamasho which we will taste soon.