Ethiopia - Koke Honey
Origin: Koke Washing Station, Yirgacheffee, Ethiopia
Altitude: 1,800 MASL
Varietal(s): Kurume, Dega, Wolisho
Roast Level: Light
Cupping Notes: Tropical Fruits, Honeysuckle, Juicy
Coffee Production in Yirgacheffe
Coffee grown in the many districts and kebeles of the Gedeo Zone is often referred to as Heirloom varieties, many of which were propagated and distributed to farmers in the last 40 years. Trees grow in red brown fertile soil under the shade of many tree species including Bibira, Cordia Africana, and the subsistence crop Ensete ventricosum.
In the southern region of Ethiopia, farmers pick coffee selectively, harvesting only ripe cherries individually by hand. Pickers rotate among the trees every eight to ten days, choosing only the cherries which are at peak ripeness.
Many pickers average approximately 100 to 200 pounds of coffee cherries a day, which will produce 20 to 40 pounds of coffee beans. Each worker’s daily haul is carefully weighed, and each picker is paid on the merit of his or her work. The day’s harvest is then transported to the processing plant.
This lot of Koke Honey was sourced from a total of around 1200 smallholder farmers from Birbes Kela, Koke, Konga, Wedessa, and Tisho kebeles bring their harvested cherries for processing at the Koke and Birbes Kele washing stations.
Ally (our import partner) has a long-standing relationship with the Koke washing station, which was built in 2011 and has seen many improvements since 2015, when the washing station staff began providing guidance to contributing producers regarding steps to increase coffee quality. They have been providing feedback to Koke and sourcing with them for more than five years, and we look forward to many more years of fruitful partnership.
The Birbes Kela washing station, located in the Birbes Kela kebele, is owned and operated by Semira Negash. The site was founded in 2020 and operates as a vertically integrated partner of Tracon, one of our exporting partners in Ethiopia. Shortly after opening her washing station, Semira quickly established herself as a producer of high-quality coffees with a strong placement in Ethiopia’s 2021 Cup of Excellence.
Harvested cherries are fermented in-cherry for two days prior to being pulped. The pulped coffee is then dried on raised beds to its optimal humidity.
Coffee is prepared for export at Tracon Trading’s coffee cleaning and storage plant on 30,000 sq meters of land in Addis Ababa. The plant is equipped with modern Pinhalense coffee processing machines and a Buhler Z+ color sorter. The machine has the capacity of processing six tons per hour. Beans pass through a final hand sort on conveyor belts. The plant’s six storage silos have a capacity of roughly 15,000 metric tons. The warehouses are clean, with ample lighting and ventilation, which are ideal for maintaining the quality of the coffee.