- Tasting Notes: Key Lime, Apricot, Candied
- Varietal(s): Heirloom
- Processing: Natural
- Altitude: 1800 - 2200 masl
- Farm(ers): Small Holders
- Region: Bensa Woreda, Sidama Zone
Coffee is not grown in a vacuum. Land quality, elevation, and access to water, to name a few factors, create unique circumstances which require adaptability and creativity to grow and process coffee. On top of that, so many historical, cultural and governmental considerations influence the look and success of a country’s coffee production; none more so than Ethiopia.
You’d be hard pressed to find a country whose history is richer or people more diverse. From a recent census, there are over 80 ethnic groups that call Ethiopia home. Uniting this diversity under a single political system is what has led to much of the challenges this country faces. In fact, as we write, there is currently a civil war occurring in the northern Tigray region of Ethiopia. Our hearts are heavy because of this, and this is the context in which we consider this year’s harvest.
Like its people, Ethiopian coffees boast a huge variety in regional differences and flavor profiles – this is largely due to their unique genetic material. This particular coffee hails from the Sidama region which lies in southern Ethiopia. Outside of the Yirgacheffe region, Sidama arguably holds the most notoriety worldwide.
The Damo Village station was acquired in 2017 by Asefa Dukamo Korma. This was right around the time when the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange voted to allow for direct sales from coffee washing stations. Thus, producers could sell their crops directly from washing stations, allowing greater traceability, and providing a dynamic which sets up better fairness in producer payment.
The Damo Village producers pick their cherries by hand and Asefa awards premium pricing to those producers who focus on ripe, quality cherries. The cherries are delivered to a shaded hut which protects both cherries and the people working the mill. From here, the cherries undergo a rigorous selection process. Underripe and overripe cherries are discarded and then the lot is transported to basins of fresh water where the coffee is floated to allow easier removal of less dense (i.e. less desirable) cherries.
This lot was processed by the natural method, which means that the entire lot is kept in its whole cherry form and transported to raised beds. The coffee is dried slowly and carefully, which requires lots of hands turning the cherries over and over. This process can take up to 30 days until the cherries reach the right moisture content and are considered done.