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About our coffee

For the people of Ethiopia, the word for coffee is “Buna”, and Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee: it is in the rain forests of the Kaffa region that coffea arabica grew wild, and there still grows wild, and in other coffee areas of Ethiopia. It is considered that in the coffee-growing regions of Ethiopia there are over 10,000 (and counting) separate genetic varieties of coffea arabica. In order to assist in this scientific genetic research Asnakech in 2014 started funding the Awade Branch of the Jimma Agricultural Research Institute for an 8 years program on the genetic base of arabica coffea in Amaro.

Ethiopian coffee green beans are available from the coffee regions as natural, sun-dried coffee and as washed coffee. The difference between the cups profiles of the natural dry-processed compared with the washed is quite distinct. Washed Sidamo, Yirgacheffe and Limmu have lighter body and less earthy wild tastes in the cup compared with dry-processed. The flavors are amazing, and when it is gone, it is gone. If all the factors line up just right, it might be the same next year, maybe not, somewhat depending on the rainfall from year-to-year.

Locations

The mountains of Amaro are an insular place in Ethiopia, isolated by two Rift Valley lakes, Chamo and Abeya to the West and by a chain of green mountains in the East-the highlands near Yirga Chefe and Fisseha Genet.  This remoteness has helped to create one of the most uniquely flavoured and sought-after coffees (coffea arabica), as all Amaro Gaayo Buna aficionados agree, and for which over the years Asnakech has received several awards.

Much of the western part of this district of Southern Ethiopia lies inside the Nechisar National Park. The major crops grown in Amaro are teff, (an Ethiopian staple) corn, wheat, barley, coffee, beans, enset (false banana), and different kinds of fruit and vegetables. Even the bananas from Amaro have a special, unique flavor, a citrus-like tang.

Processing: The coffee processing mainly takes place at two locations in Amaro; for both washed and natural sun-dried coffee at Kore Biko and Derba Menana to where coffee from our own plantations and that from neighboring coffee farmers’ households is brought. Over the years, through her own skills Asnakech has trained her coffee people and cooperating farmers in her methods, and her insistence on selecting fresh and fully ripe red cherries for the semi-washed process. The local coffee farmers listen to her, because they have seen the good results for themselves.

For the first part of the coffee season up to about mid-December the coffee red cherries are carefully harvested; to be processed as semi-washed coffee using modern Brazilian “eco-friendly” equipment that uses minimum spring water, before going to the coffee beds, for drying in the Ethiopian highland sunshine. There is no need for machine-drying in Amaro. The residues from the washing process are composted for re-cycling into the coffee-growing process.

Care in the drying process is important in order to achieve an acceptable moisture content. Semi-washed coffee beans from the washing process (not fermentation) are dried on raised beds, a great way to dry the coffee for they allow no contact with the ground, resulting in a much cleaner coffee.  The beds also provide an even aeration, in which dry air can reach the beans from both above and below.  Consistency!

For coffee red cherries that do not go through the washing process they are harvested and sent directly to the drying beds. After the red cherry harvesting phase is finalized about mid-December, the sun-dried berries continue to be processed. The coffee beans are sorted and cleaned to ensure that the coffee green beans meet export standards for speciality coffee.

 

 

 

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