Israel Degfa is a good friend of Drop Coffee. We’ve visited each others several times, over time he has a new project, but let’s focus on this very process station and farm of his. Beloya is one of Israels three washing stations in the region Korchere where he is doing some very progressive farming. The coffee is very juicy with notes typical for a the Korchere region; orange zest, honey melon and black tea.
Beloya is a farm and washing station that has their own bit of farm but also members delivering coffee to them. Here they’ve got a nursery with no less than 1.2 million plants where every member of the farm can take as many as they need free of charge. This, of course, gives a bigger income for the farmer from producing a bigger volume and also benefits Beloya them selves on a long term having more coffee, as coffee from stronger plants, provided to them.
The nursery at Beloya are yearly producing no less than 1.2 million coffee plants.
Located in Korchere in Guji, Israel has no less than six washing stations in the region. According to the man himself and many with him, Guji is where the real indigoes coffee in Ethiopia is coming from.
The manager of Beloya is Lemma Gabriel Mescal. For many years he worked with agriculture for the government but been working for Israel since ten years now. At the farm Beloya they are working with organic guidelines and are for example reusing the coffee pulp as fertilizer. No children under 16 are fallowed to work at the farm. In the region, Israel is supporting a local school.
The manager Lemma Gabriel Mescal
Meet mr Israel Defga
Israel currently got 356 people employed, he owns over 20 washing stations and soon three dry mills in the country. He grew up in the region Kerchanse, witch is also the name of Israels company. Israel’s father used to work at a processing station and his mother was selling coffee at the bus station before getting her own shop in town.
He has a strong strive about what he wants to achieve and are growing very quickly. Nothing triggers me more than that we’re the same age. He is 30 years old and has meetings with Ethiopia's prime minister talking about new coffee exporting rules.
Today, 20 000 farmers are delivering coffee to Israel. He has recently started the certification for Rainforest Alliance that will be on all on his washing stations. Currently, he is verifying the first 10 000 farmers, all needs follow up individually, photo and a signed approval.
Israel Defga from Kerchanse and Joanna Alm from Drop Coffee
Ethiopia update harvest 2016-2017
The drought at Africas Horn hasn't left anyone untouched this year. According to Ethiopia's president, Mitiku Kassa, the number of drought victims had reached 7.8 million of people in the country. Israel’s exporting company Kerchanse been giving a big share for nutrition to the victims.
The drought has also heavily decreased farming not only by cows not having access to water but also the general agriculture. Below is a picture Israel sent me in January 2017 on different parts of Yirgacheffe that coffee farms were drying out. Visiting in June, hence the rain period, the region looked very lush. However, there is an overlying worry for enough rainfall in the next few year. And other impacts on the farming due to climate changes.
Left picture; Yirgacheffee suffering from drought. Right picture: Rain season in Guji.
In some coffee producing regions over the country, a riot was done as a protest to the unions, where hundreds of washing stations were damaged and put on fire during a short period of time. In Yirgacheffe, where over 60 washing stations were damaged, the local government decided to cover the cost by Yirgacheffes yearly budget to make the suffered process stations able to process coffee again this year. However, this means that many politicians in the region are not going to be paid fully this year as other cuts in the budget. In the Korchere region, where this coffee is from, six surrounding washing stations to Israels was contaminated.
The production at Beloya
Generally, Ethiopia still got quite basic processing conditions as standard on speciality coffee, but Beloya is a place where Israel and his team are trying out new things. New for this year is also that they are probably the first one in the country with a mechanical drying house that Israel has designed together with a local engineer. The drying room has manually removable walls, two levelled drying beds and an air conditioner that keeps the temperature consistent throughout the night. By using these for the first year this harvest the percentage as coffee produced and sold as speciality coffee from Beloya has increased over 10%. Today Beloya are producing 40% speciality, most of the commercial coffee is being processed as natural and is being sold mainly to Japan.
The drying house is currently being renovated to be ready for next season.
The production on Beloya has been very big and increasing the supply of plants to the farmers mentioned in the info part about Beloya. This harvest the season been big, however there is a worry for more frost, due to the high altitude, in upcoming years.
Lush and healthy harvest at Beloya.
The future; Drop Coffee and Israel Defga
Just by looking at the length of this text you can probably tell that Israel is a very good friend of ours. He has been over visiting the Drop Coffee twice and we’ve spent a lot of time together in Ethiopia. We buy the coffee through the green coffee buyer Nordic Approach and are very grateful for their traceability of the coffees as cupping thousand of coffees from the huge portfolio from this man to find what they consider the top lots of the year. Nordic Approach has Seife Tuuloskorpi working in Ethiopia working full time almost all year and the company has recently set up an office and cupping lab in Addis Abeba.
Israel Defga holding a presentation at ours together with Seife Tuuloskorpi from Nordic Approach and Joanna Alm from Drop Coffee in 2016.
Visiting Beloya the first time in December 2015, it’s lovely to come back to the farm almost two years and recognize the people working there, it’s the same lovely female chef but she’s proudly showing up the new orchard and the people at the farm wouldn't stop talking about how good the eggs were. Which they were. It’s with the same pride they show us the new dining room and reception. Combine this with the new drying house, the massive nursery and more than anything the enormously skilled people have working here - I guarantee this is a farm we will see a lot more from in the future.
New hens, same staff at Beloya.
Producer: Israel Defga
Region: Korchere, Guji region
Varietal: Ethiopian Heirloom
Harvest: November 2016 to January 2017
Elevation: 1900 meters above sea level
Processing: Full-washed. Soaked over night and graded in channels. Some coffee is dried on raised African beds which are being covered over night and the warmest part of the day. Some of the coffee has been dried in the new dry house with controlled temperature during the whole day.
Flavour description: A juicy light bodied cup with a sweetness of honey melon and flavour notes of black tea, orange zest and fresh liquorice.