ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO GROW IT: From ancient times, Ethiopia has produced some of the world’s best single origin coffees, renowned for their complexity with a pungent, winey quality, and a wildness in their acidity. Southern Ethiopia, known for its wet processed (washed) coffees, is home to the Yirgacheffe coffees, one of the most distinguished among Ethiopian varieties. A fine Ethiopian Yirgacheffee coffee displays a bright acidity along with intense, clean tastes and a complexity of floral notes in the aroma, sometimes with a hint of toasted coconut.
Most cooperatives in the Yirgacheffe region belong to the YCFCU (Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union). This lot displays the hard work and dedication of one particular coop within that organization, the Konga Cooperative.
These 2400 smallholder farmers distinguish themselves in their impeccable attention to detail in processing. Ethiopian heirloom varietals are chosen from the forest and transplanted to small gardens, adding a layer of selection to the incredible complexity available among wild coffee plants. Farmers hand-sort for unripe and overripe cherries. Coffee is pulped with a 5-disc Aagaarde pulper and wet fermented for 24-36 hours. After some sorting based on density, the fermented coffee is washed in clean water before drying for 1 to 2 weeks on cloth drying beds. Workers cover the coffee with plastic at midday and at night. Once dried, the coffee is screened 14 and up.
As part of the cooperative's mission to give back to the community, Konga renovated buildings at a primary school and outfitted it with new supplies. Wetye Jilo (pictured below, left) says, “I used to sell my coffee to a private buyer who always gave me a small price of 35 birr per 100 kilos of coffee. Thanks to the union, I now get 3 times more from the same amount of coffee. I have expanded dramatically and now grow my coffee on a whole hectare of land. My seven children are now counted among the educated, not to mention the extra income I get from the sheep and chicken I now raise, all because of the YCFCU.”
Printable flyers: Roasting this coffee to give or sell to others? Click here to download and print color flyers to tell this story of the coffee's origin, and help them feel good about the great coffee they are drinking.