The region is called Kochere and it’s also within the Gedeo zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR). The washing station resides in a community (Kebele) called Gedeb.Abeyot Ageze owns the station, and about 650 small-holder farm owners bring their coffee cherry to Abeyot’s mill to process. Kochere as a region is gaining traction against its northern brother (Yirgacheffe), and the coffees from here rival the best from any other region in Ethiopia.
With so many farm owners contributing, one may wonder how lot consistency is achieved. First off, the small-scale producer is the norm in Ethiopia, whether they sell their coffee to a co-op or private mill. There are, of course, very large farms in Ethiopia as well but, in Phil’s experience, the best quality is consistently coming from the small-scale producers. Phil’s thought on this is that the small producer, by the very nature of being small, is able to focus more on quality. Beginning with the agriculture, which is mostly passive organic (almost natural forest-like), small scale farms might have only 120 or so trees on their property to tend. A focused effort on spreading compost and deadfall on each tree is very feasible.
At harvest time, all the family gets involved. The cherry is laid out in one thin layer on the property after picking, and before submission to the washing station. The coffee is picked through to ensure that only ripe cherry is included. The key for these small-scale farmers is that the price paid for coffee cherry must be sufficient for them to afford to make a living off of a small piece of land. This is only achieved when buyers pay high prices for top quality, which we have done with this lot. This premium gets pushed down the chain as a second payment to the coffee growers. This is the key to economic sustainability!
The green coffee of this lot was frozen to retain optimal freshness.