May 2022 saw us collaborate with Society coffee for a fourth time. Over the years Society have presented us with a wide variety of interesting and unique offerings to explore. This time, we are back where we started, with an Ethiopian offering. But its not all same same as this month we explore the Yirgacheffe growing region.
THE WASHING STATION
A privately owned washing station, Boji is located in Kochere, with the closest town, Chelelektu, 25km’s away.
Boji coffee washing station takes its name after the Kebele (ward) where it is located, a sub region of the well known Yirgacheffe coffee growing region.
The CWS follows the common practice in Yirgacheffe of
purchasing coffee cherry from (approximately 500) small producers who have picked it themselves.
Producers sell coffee to CWS that are within walking distance of their farms, where they grow heirloom varieties using techniques known locally as coffee gardens, a practice that is common throughout Ethiopia.
Once cherry is received, Boji CWS processes it into washed, honey or naturally processed coffee.
This coffee was naturally processed using traditional Ethiopian methods of washing the cherry with water from a nearby spring before transferring it to drying beds for 2-3 weeks, with strict drying protocols seeing coffee turned
every 30 minutes for the first few days to ensure coffee dried evenly and allows for further visual grading,
allowing workers to remove any damaged cherry.
Politics can be confusing in our country, but understanding another countries political or administrative boundaries with different language and methods it is an enigma.
Throughout time Ethiopia has seen internal administrative boundaries shift, having 13 provinces between 1942 and 1991, with further differing boundaries prior.
Present day Ethiopia is broken down into 9 “Killoch” or regions (11 if you add in the two chartered cities, one being the capital and geographic centre of the country, Addis Abada). Killoch are based on ethnic territories, eg: Oromia, home to the Oromo people, a familiar group from pervious features.
Killoch are further divided into 68 zones, including the familiar Guji and Sidama.
Zones are further divided into Woreda (districts)
The Woreda of Yirgacheffe, is located in Gedeo zone and is part of the SNNPR (Southern Nations, Nationalities and peoples’ region).
Kebele or Municipalities such as Kochere are the smallest of Ethiopias’ administrative divisions, into which Wordea are divided.
SMALL BUT MIGHTY
Yirgacheffe (the Woreda) is part of the Gadeo zone and is located on the border with Oromia Killoch to the west.
The Woreda of Kochere borders Yirgacheffe in the north. Confused? Understandably.
Thanks to the broad definition applied by the ECX (Ethiopia commodity exchange) this is where things get
a little more confusing and crossing the political boundaries laid out on maps.
The Yirgacheffe name represents the growing region known as Yirgacheffe, encompassing six Woreda within the Gedeo zone, including Kochere and two from the Borena zone, encompassing regions ironically enough are located within the Sidamo growing region, but has its own identity due to its exceptional coffees, characterised by their bright floral tones and medium body.
Like Sidama and Harar, Yirgacheffe is one of three trademarked names for ethiopias growing regions, having been the first of the trademarks awarded to the Ethiopian government in 2005, leading to attempts by Starbucks to block the applications to trademark Sidamo and Harar.
Altitude: 1800-2200 M.A.S.L
Varietal: Heirloom Yirgacheffe
Click here for more about the Ethiopia Commodity exchange
Photo: John Burton Limited (Washed coffee depicted)