Ethiopian Heirloom Varieties
48-Hour Wet Fermentation, 14-Day Raised Bed Drying
November 2019 - February 2020
Worka Chelbessa, Gedeb
Chelbessa Washing Station
Harvested at the peak of ripeness, this coffee comes to us from the Danche washing station, the highest altitude washing station in Worka Chelbessa, Ethiopia. Chelbessa is one of the largest Kebeles [towns] in Gedeb, a county tucked within the renowned Yirgacheffe region. Thought to be the seedstock of all coffee, the Ethiopian heirloom varieties grown in Yirgacheffe have been cultivated for centuries.
The Yirgacheffe zone is broken down into six different Woredas [counties]. These micro-regions are like appellations in wine––each known for their own distinctive flavor palate. Gedeb is one of the more celebrated of these counties, and coffees from the area carry a refined take on the region’s iconic floral and fruit profile. While all of the coffee from the region is remarkable, the higher altitude lots we’ve identified from Danche rise a hair above the rest.
The Danche Washing Station is run by our friends at SNAP. SNAP partners with some 486 smallholder farmers in and around Chelbessa to sort, process, and export their coffees at a number of small, private washing stations. This agricultural community’s dedication to their craft is apparent when you sift through the cherries at harvest, revealing an almost unblemished crop.
This care in cultivation is matched by the attention brought to processing. At the washing station, professional coffee processors remove the skin and fruit of the cherries to reveal the coffee seeds before submerging them underwater for 48 hours. This extended underwater fermentation slightly germinates the seeds, a process unique to Ethiopia. After soaking, the coffee is carefully dried on raised beds, ensuring a slow and even drying.
All of this work, from near-obsessive picking to the finesse in processing, reveals the true potential of coffees from this region. The product of hundreds of years of thoughtful cultivation and a tradition of care, Ethiopia Chelbessa Danche continues to be one of our most anticipated releases of the year.
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