A new coffee to replace our beloved Dimtu Tero. Again, it’s natural processed and from Guji region, but this time from a wet mill in Gigessa!
Coffee from Ethiopia is fascinating and complex in its range of flavours but also in how it gets from tree to cup.
Take a seat and deep breath while I explain how this particular coffee came to be in your mouth.
Around 850 farmers and their families bring cherries to the mill during harvest. They bring on average the equivalent of 200kg – 300kg of green coffee each (thats small amounts).
They can pick which mill they want to bring them too and some mills pay more than others to attract better quality.
The farmer gets paid straight away for cherries based on the market price that day. And that’s that. There are some large farms and co-ops in Ethiopia but small-holders are a plenty.
From here its a little more messy but in short…
The mill sorts and grades the cherries – Grade 1 is what we go for:-) The mill processes the coffee, either with water (washed) or without (natural) which is the case with this coffee.
The natural processing is labour intensive. The cherries are dried in thin layers on tables to about 25% moisture. They are then carefully moved to thicker layers and left until they reach 12% moisture. They are constantly moved during the day and rested at night. This takes around 15 – 18 days. Too fast a fermentation means fruity flavours can become a bit too wild and too slow can mean mould starts to grow and the whole thing is a disaster. The Natural process is high risk and labour intensive, but golly its tasty.
The mill then delivers all its processed coffee to the Ethiopian Commodity exchange. They grade the coffee again and “name” it based on where it came from.
Exporters then buy this coffee at the exchange and move it to their warehouses. These guys have a good inside knowledge of what coffee came from where and how good it is. Prices fluctuate – it’s all supply and demand and market forces.
The exporters then offer samples to importers – In this case Nordic Approach. The importers taste and select lots and then ship it over to their warehouse in the UK.
At the end of the line there’s us, the roasters who taste samples of the coffees and select one, like this one.
And there you have it. A lot of information in a tiny font.