Flavour profile: A cup full of citrus fruit, notes of lemon zest with a hint of papaya and white florals, and a lasting vibrant acidity.
Colour: Pastel green
Farm: Ana Sora
Producer: Israel Degfa
Varietal: Heirloom 74120 and Indigenous wild varieties
Area: Guji zone
Nearest town: Yirgacheffe
Founding year: 2013
Altitude: 1,900 – 2,350 m.a.s.l.
Farm size: 250 hectares, of which 150 hectares are coffee.
Roast style: Light to medium to enhance the natural sweetness of the coffee.
Ethiopia is a poor country, producing amazing coffee. The frustration of visiting, and seeing the living standards in terms of access to clean water and electricity, is overwhelming. This is one of the biggest reasons we have the trust of working with Israel Degfa. He is working hard to get people out of poverty through coffee and creating working opportunities by opening process stations in areas where no other work existed. Nearly 10% of all Israels total production is speciality coffee grade, and that coffee is full of character.
Ana Sora is built up to produce mainly speciality coffee. When we started working with Ana Sora, the coffee cherries ware being delivered to another washing station by truck. With bad roads and high altitude, this was challenging, and if it rained it was impossible. We are beyond excited for the process- and drying stations now built and in use at Ana Sora. But also because we are amazed by Isreals processing standards.
This is the fourth year that we are buying coffee from Israel Degfa, but it is the first year ever that the coffee at Ana Sora is processed on site, at 2350 meters! That the coffee is this high grown, makes the coffee cherries mature slower, but also it takes longer for the coffee beans to ferment and to dry on the drying tables. We love to be able to present the Ana Sora as washed process, to taste the true vibrant acidity in this coffee.
About Israel Degfa and Ana Sora farm
Most coffee in Ethiopia comes from cooperatives, not private farms. Working with Israels' private farms makes it easy to maintain our relationships and keep in contact with the producer. But mainly, because we have a lot of trust in the way he is working with all the people he is employing and his vision for society.
Israel was born in a village called Kershanse 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. But he also saw them suffer from political actions and how his grandma lost growing land. All of this inspired Israel to work in coffee. He studied primary school in Yiralem and went to high school and collage in Addis Abeba. In 2013 Israel founded the company: Kerchanshe trading company that is named after the nearest town, Kerchanste (fondly referred to as Kercha). Today he has 48 washing stations (!) and five dry mills, striving to add more value and more work opportunities in small local areas that are suitable for coffee production.
Six years ago Israel started clearing the wild forest to plant coffee plants that is now known as Ana Sora. Israel and his team started teaching local farmers how to grow coffee, so they could expand their crops from only corn, and now there is an abundance of coffee being grown at this high altitude of up to 2350 masl. Ana Sora is about 150 hectare of producing coffee. It is located in Yirgacheffe, in the Goji region.
At the Ana Sora washing station 89 drying beds and 15 fermentation tanks were built during our visit in November 2018. Due to the lower temperature at higher altitudes, the coffee is maturing slower, needs to be fermenting for longer (about 36h) and is drying slower. Visiting in 2019, we where very impressed by the work that had been completed.
The coffee trees are tightly planted, with the idea that they could shelter each other from the harsh weather, and all survive, and it seems that they are all thriving today! All the replanting is done with Heirloom 74120 as it is resistant to frost and Coffee Berry Disease.
As seen in the pictures, the cement of the fermentation tanks were drying when we were at Ana Sora in November 2018, and the pulper was being installed, and this year will be the first year we get to try coffee from Ana Sora washed beside the naturally processed, all grown and processed up at 2350 masl!
Sustainability at Ana Sora
The surrounding land of Ana Sora is populated by small holder farmers who are of Oromo ethnicity and speak mainly Oromo. Israel believes in helping those farmers with education in husbandry and financial assistance. He feels this is the only way to produce sustainable coffee in Ethiopia.
All the members at Ana Sora are registered and certified. The pickers and the farmers delivering to Ana Sora are being paid in cash and all of the payments are logged in books. To pay cash on delivery with recites.
Turo is a river that runs along the side of Ana Sora, and where they get their processing water from and they are filtering the water before they give it back to nature. Nearby Ana Sora there is a school called Yerba Buleye, which works with the farm to teach the children how to work and farm coffee. Israel also supports an orphanage school in the neighbouring village.
Installing and building a washing station with 15 fermentation tanks and 89 drying beds with coffee that continuously needs to be turned over, creates a lot of working opportunities in the Ana Sora area. All of the workers are registered and covered by the rainforest certification.
10% of the profit of Israels company Kershanse, is going to his charity company. With this company, he is building roads, investing in schools and is currently working on a water cleaning system for the local communities.
The FOB price for this coffee was 2,7 USD per pound.