Ethiopia is very special, the taste profiles you only get from there, the country and the culture. This is a coffee we’ve been buying from Hunkute for six years now, a cooperative of 920 members in the Dalle region in Sidama. With rural growing condition, Hunkute keeps delivering absolutely stunning coffee year on year. The coffee is delicate, yet well balanced with a vibrant citric acidity and notes of apricot and black tea.
For the first year, we are coffee is Organic certified. It is the same coffee we've been buying as before, but as many costumes were asking for a certified coffee we have decided to certify our roastery and can now sell Hunkute as organic to you.
Roasting Hunkute in Stockholm with Tsegaye Anebo, manager of Sidama Union that Hunkute belongs to and our green coffee partner Nordic Approach's, Seife Tuuloskorpi.
Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee. More than anything I'm amazed by how they live with the product. In Ethiopia, many processes, roast and drink their coffee themselves, as a country is consuming over 40% of what they are producing themselves. In Ethiopia there are over 1.1 million smallholder coffee farmers, delivering cherries to a cooperative or private washing station.
Hunkute is made up of two washing stations (the imaginatively named Hunkute Site 1 and Hunkute Site 2) and is located in the highlands of Dalle region in Sidamo, both belonging to Hunkute Cooperative, made up of 920 members (2018). Hunkute Cooperative is connected to the Sidama Union.
Hunkute 1 is located at an altitude of 1850 meters and started ten years ago whilst Hunkute 2 is located at 2150 meters and started five years ago. The washing stations are collecting cherries from both the members and surrounding farmers who want to deliver their cherries to the washing station.
Visiting Hunkute June 2017
Sustainability aspect - Payment and agriculture at Hunkute
Since Sidama is such a mecca in coffee the market is competitive for the cooperatives in the region. This is one of the reasons Hunkute are paying the farmers up front daily during harvest (November-January) unless the farmer prefers different. They also have a second payment based on the selling price which is being paid to the farmers very latest by August, which is a great difference compared to how late we've seen some farmers being paid when visiting several cooperatives in Ethiopia. In the Sidama Union, about 70% of the payment is going back to the farmers and the rest are for investments at the washing stations and the cooperative.
Being both certified Organic and with Fair Trade, which is one of the reasons why the washing station is good at keeping documents and reports of payments and data logging of the production.
The production at Hunkute
The coffee is being picked and delivered by surrounding farmers and members of the cooperative. Before processing the ripe cherries are being separated from un-ripe. Another separation of grading is done in the pulper (where the outer skin is removed), in channels (where floaters and unripe are separated) and when sorted and turned on the drying beds by hand.
The 920 connected members to Hunkute is delivering coffee during harvest from the nearby area in Dalle. Throughout the year, organic fertilizer is common at the farms. Pruning of the trees is less common.
The coffee needs to be mainly mature red to be considered as "Grade One". Cherries are hand sorted for unripe and overripe cherries by the farmers before they go into production. The same afternoon/evening as picking has been done the coffee is being pulped meaning that the skin and pulp are removed from the beans and yet again separated by density. After this, the beans are being fermented under water for 24-36 hours, dependent on the weather conditions. It’s then graded in washing channels into two grades based on density before soaked under clean water in tanks for 12-24 hours.
The coffee is then removed to raised beds where the coffee is dried in the sun for 10 to 15 days covered with hessian cloths. During midday and at night coffees are covered in plastic.
Sidamo Union has from last year dry milled the coffee at their own new mill belonging to the union. Whilst they previously have used a dry mill in Addis Abebbea. Have seen the previous mill I could tell that the working conditions were massively improved with proper light and not much dust and from the beans that the process have been more even in terms of the grading and sorting this year.
How we buy it
All of the cooperatives in Ethiopia belong to a Union, in this case, the Sidamo Union, which sell and export the coffee to our green coffee partner Nordic Approach. Through them, we've been buying Hunkute for six years and have visited the washing stations Hunkute 1 and 2 many times throughout the years.
Producer: Hunkute Washing Station site 1+ site 2
Union: Sidama Union
Washing station: Hunkute Site 1 and Hunkute Site 2
Location: Dalle, Sidamo
Varietal: Ethiopian Heirloom, improved varietals and native coffee of forest origin.
Picking period: December 2017 - January 2018
Elevation: 1850 - 2150 meters
Processing: Fully Washed
Flavour description: A delicate yet blanched cup. Notes of apricot, citric acidity, black tea and a hint of white floral.