Workye Shallo, Ethiopia
This coffee is one of the finest examples we have on a sustainable cooperation based on the goal of achieving high quality. Mrs. Workye Shallo's farm is situated in the most interesting part of Yirgacheffe, Wakesa, with an altitude of up to 2000 meters above sea level. In order to get to Workye's farm, one has to hike across a bridge over pouring water (incidentally also the natural source of water for the coffee).
In normal cases, Ethiopian coffee is gathered from this farm together with coffee from hundreds of other farms from the same district and are mixed at a washing station. However, through the project One Farmer One Roaster, we are acting in the opposite way when buying our coffee. Instead, we buy, through Nordic Approach, the coffee directly from Workye Shallo. Workye, her family and her employes can therefore put extra focus on quality by doing the picking, processing and drying by themselves and by doing so refine the coffee which has grown around their house for generations. Nordic Approach is constantly at hand for the farmer during the first year of the program to give Workye support and advice and also to help keeping the quality standard of the production that Nordic Approach is working towards. In the end of October 2013, we visited Workye and her farm and handed over one dollar extra per kilo coffee that we had bought during the year. This money goes directly towards augmenting the quality of the production at the farm.
Thanks to the project One Farmer One Roaster, Workye is now able to produce and sell her coffee as a Single Estate. The pilot project will already during the next harvest have another two farmers, and we believe that this in the long run will change how specialty coffee in Ethiopia is produced and how the marketing of coffee is conducted. This project will also highlight knowledge on how coffee's unique character is presented and what causes leads to which taste. The coffee from Workye Shallo is already today very pure and juicy, to imagine that this coffee can get even better makes us very happy to have joined the project together with Workye Shallo and her genuinely beautiful and well-managed farm.
Area: Devo, Wakesa, Yirgacheffe
Varietal: Old trees of Ethiopian Heirloom and new trees of improved varietals
Altitude: 1800 - 2000 masl
Processing: Cherries are sorted by hand for unripes and overripes by the farmer and family members before they go into production. A 1 disc mechanized pulper removes the skin and pulp. The coffee is then fermented under water for 24-36 hours, depending on the weather conditions. It is then graded in washing channels into two grades based on density before it’s soaked under clean water in tanks for 12-24 hours. Sun dried 10 – 15 days days on African drying beds on bamboo surface and hessian cloths. Coffees are covered in plastic during midday and at night.
Soil: Volcanic deposits, rich in minerals and nitrogen.
Farm size: 10 hectares (about 10,000 trees, totally 40 bags of green beans)
Project: One Farmer One Roaster. Tekle Mammo is behind the project One Farmer One Roaster. He started this project in 2011 together with Yirgacheffe Union by convincing three small farmers in Yirgacheffe to take a loan and invest in hand pulping machines for washed coffee. It was a success: at this point there are several farmers taking part in the project, and most of them have invested in and constructed proper micro-mills where they are able to produce washed coffees based on the same quality standards as the most successful cooperatives. They still need money to invest, build warehouses, have guards on their property, build drying tables and more fermentation tanks, etc. We are paying 1 extra USD per kilo for this coffee that will be handed over directly to the farmers next year. The money will go to investment in equipment that will help the farmers to develop and increase both quantity and quality. The prices for these coffees reflect the extra effort, risk and investment taken by the producers. The money after cost of production and export fees goes entirely back to the farmer. In this case we as roasters will be linked to the farmers in a sustainable way.
Cupping notes: Coffee flower, red berries and tea aromas. Has a lot of red berry flavors and classic Yirgacheffe attributes like bergamot, hibiscus and lemon. High flavor intensity, complex and juicy.