Short facts about Uraga
Producer: Israel Degfa, of the company Kerchanse
Washing Station: Uraga. A privately owned communal washing station.
Number of delivering farmers: about 2000 smallholding with an average of 1-2 hectares per farm.
Harvested: November 2018 - January 2019
Varietal: Indigenous wild varietals
Area: Guji Zone
Founding year: 2010
Altitude: 2400 masl
Colour to describe flavour profile: Creamy Lime Green
Roast style: Light to medium to enhance the light, juicy mouthfeel with heaps of critic and floral notes.
Flavour profile: An elegant cup, reminding of the pulp of a lemon, with notes of white chamomile and black tea, a hint of mango, and a fresh sage like finish.
This is the fourth year that we are buying coffee from Israel Degfa, the only private producer we are working with in Ethiopia. Israel has become a good friend of ours and we want to support his work on sustainability with the farmers aiming to get them out of poverty through coffee, and he is producing some really stunning coffees. However, this is the first time we are taking in coffee from the washing station called Uraga, located in the Guji region in Ethiopia. In total, Israel has no less than 26 washing stations. Uraga is one out of four washing stations where Israel is now certifying the farmers and giving them a second payment for their deliveries based on quality.
Ethiopia is one of our favorite coffee origins. It’s taste profile and culture are both diverse and interesting. The Arabica coffee plant was first found growing wild in Ethiopia and Yemen, and Ethiopia became the motherland of coffee. Of the about 6,6 million bags produced in the country every year, almost half of it is kept in the country for local consumption.
Uraga is located in the Guji zone, is a well-known coffee producing regions where about 1.4 million people live. In this coffee, you will recognize its floral taste profile from the region.
About the washing station Uraga
Local farmers are delivering their freshly picked coffee cherries to the washing station Uraga, most of the farmers only have 1 to 2 hectares of land. The days they are not delivering coffee, many of them are working at the washing station. Most of the coffee delivered to the washing station Uraga is organically produced, but not everything. The coffee cherries are being sorted from immature and overrip cherries before they are going into the pulper, this is a stage of quality improvement that is not often done in Ethiopia. After that, the skin of the coffee cherry is being removed by a pulping machine and the coffee beans are graded into first and second grades in the pulp density channels, and then again after fermenting for around 48 hours, and then washed with clean water before moving to the drying tables. As Uraga is located very high the temperature is cooler and the beans are dried for over 20 days, which also improves the flavour of the coffee.
Israel been traveling to other coffee orgins, such as Brazil, and gotten inspriation how to improve the processing of the coffee. Isreal is always investing in better systems and putting better protocols in place at his washing stations. Melkisa is the manager of Uraga washing station, making sure everything is running smoothly.
About the producer Israel Degfa
Israel was born near Sidamo, Yirgalem, and his parents were both in coffee in different ways. His mum sold coffee at the bus station and his dad was a farmer. This is where he found his love for coffee. He studied primary school in Yiralem and went to high school and college in Addis Abeba.
In 2013 Israel founded the company by Kerchanshe trading company that is named after the nearest town, Kerchanste town (fondly referred to as Kercha). Today he has 26 washing stations and a few dry-mills. Add to that, the guy is 32 years old and only had the business for 6 years.
Israel visited us at Drop the first year we worked together, in 2015. From then we have been visiting each other every year. Obviously, Drop Coffee is a tiny buyer to all of Israels 26 washing stations, but coffee buying is about relationships, shared quality goals, and trust - and in that we see eye to eye, and are important to each other. Israel is continuously improving the standards of his coffee. This year the total production percentage of specialty coffee produced by Kerchance has almost doubled, this year the specialty coffee is almost 10% of all the coffee. Higher quality means more money for the farmers delivering to the washing stations.
We want to support Israel Degfa's work on sustainability with the farmers aiming to get them out of poverty through coffee and he is producing some really stunning coffees.
Uraga is one of four of his 26 washing stations that Israel is certifying the producers and giving them a second payment, based on the premiums.
10% of Kershanse's profit goes into a non-profit sustainability company, where he for example investing in school within the local communities.