Ethiopia Tade GG Microlot Natural

Ethiopia Tade GG Microlot Natural

Origin: Ethiopia

Region: Guji

Sub Region: Shakiso

Altitude: 1830 - 1950 meters above sea level

Farm: Tade GG

Owner: Tesfaye Bekele 

Variety: Heirloom

Process:  Natural

Tasting Notes: Sweet, winey and complex with notes of berries, grape, tea rose and dried fruit.

Tade GG (mountain forest farm) is a private farm owned by a gentleman named Tesfaye Bekele. The farm is 221 hectares in area and sits between 1,830 and 1,950 meters above sea level. The general landscape of the farm is characterised by highly sharp and rugged hills, ridges, plateaus, valleys and flats creating stunningly dramatic setting. The regions’ volcanic soil is bursts with nutrients, creating deep red and brown top-layer of soil.​

Tesfaye Bekele is so passionate about coffee farming that he has traveled extensively throughout Central and South America to visit coffee farms and learn about different cultivating and processing methods. Tesfaye says when you buy his coffee you not only pay him, you pay the community and the environment. Tesfaye uses native heritage trees as shade and a percentage of his land is dedicated Forest and wildlife area. Tesfaye also funds a local school which he built with profits from his farm.

The Coffee is picked and dried and raised African beds ​when the early seasons rains stop. The Coffee is dried for 14 days on average, and the kept as lots by the day of processing. At the end of the season, any exceptional cupping lots are kept and sold for a premium as Micro-Lots and the rest are blended and graded into grades. Tesfaye won 3rd place in the Cup of Excellence competition this year with a microlot. This particular microlot was only 240kg of coffee which all came to Passport Specialty Coffee.

Grades in Ethiopia depend on visual inspection for defects and on cup quality. Grade 1 is considered the highest quality coffee. Grade 1 and 2 are considered specialty coffee, grade 3-9 are classified as commercial coffee. Grade 1 is free of cup faults and taints and has zero quakers.

The Guji region receives ample rainfall and is marked by steep mountainous terrain. Perfect conditions to support the vast array of coffee found here. Only recently have Guji coffees been distinguished from neighbouring Sidamo and Yirgacheffe producing areas. Due to their immense quality and unique profiles however, they are quickly gaining international recognition. 

While Ethiopia is famous as coffee’s birthplace, today it remains a specialty coffee industry darling for its incredible variety of flavors. While full traceability has been difficult in recent history, new regulations have made direct purchasing possible. We’re partnering directly with farmers to help them produce top quality specialty lots that are now completely traceable, adding value for farmers and roasters, alike.

The exceptional quality of Ethiopian coffee is due to a combination of factors. The genetic diversity of coffee varieties means that we find a diversity of flavor, even between (or within) farms with similar growing conditions and processing. In addition to varieties, processing methods also contribute to end quality. The final key ingredients for excellent coffee in Ethiopia are the producing traditions that have created the genetic diversity, processing infrastructure and great coffee we enjoy today.

Most producers in Ethiopia are smallholders, and the majority continue to cultivate coffee using traditional methods. As a result, most coffee is grown with no chemical fertilizer or pesticide use. Coffee is almost entirely cultivated, harvested and dried using manual systems.

Ethiopia’s long coffee history predates written records. Arabica plants are native to Ethiopia, and many of the Arabica varieties now cultivated worldwide have their genetic roots in wild coffee growing in Ethiopian forests. With such easy access to wild-growing coffee, it is undoubtable that early people in Ethiopia consumed coffee for centuries before it became the global beverage that it is today.

The long tradition of coffee in Ethiopia has continued into the modern day. Coffee drinking is widespread in both social and cultural contexts and has a place at a wide range of social events. Nearly half of all coffee produced in the country is consumed on the domestic market. That’s no small feat for a country that produces some 860 million pounds of green coffee beans annually.  

Coffee also provides the main income for up to 25% of the population. More than 15 million people grow coffee as their major cash crop. The Ethiopian government also depends on coffee to generate between 25 and 35% of total annual export earnings.

Exporters and importers frequently use the term “heirloom” to describe Ethiopian coffee varieties. However, this catchall-term often hides that impressive array of varieties that are unique to certain regions.  

Varieties in Ethiopia can be classified into two main groups: Jimma Agricultural Research Centre (JARC) varieties or regional and local landraces.

The JARC is responsible for developing many of the varieties that flourish across Ethiopia today. JARC was established in 1967 and has been developing and sharing new coffee varieties ever since. The center also provides agricultural extension training to help farmers learn the correct cultivation methods for these newer varieties.

Landraces are plant varieties that have evolved over generations of selective breeding to be best suited to their local conditions. There are at least 130 widely cultivated regional or local landraces.

In Ethiopia, the genetic diversity of landrace coffee trees means that we find a diversity of flavor, even between (or within) farms with similar growing conditions and processing.

In addition to varieties, processing methods also contribute to end quality. Most coffee produced in Ethiopia is grown by smallholders, but they often do not have their own processing infrastructure. Instead, most smallholders deliver cherry to a wet mill. Wet mills are owned by either cooperatives or private companies.

Wet mills purchase cherry from the farmers and oversee processing. Most washing stations will specialize in both Fully washed and Natural processing methods. While the efforts of each farmer—from selecting and nurturing trees to picking on ripe cherry—are essential determinants of coffee quality, the wet mill’s practices are crucial. Wet mill staff and management are of the utmost importance, and the best washing stations employ stringent quality control measures. They only accept red, ripe cherry and have exacting drying practices. Nearly all washing stations sort drying coffee several times.

While smallholder farmer do not usually have their own pulpers, some do process coffee at their own homes using the Natural method. In these cases, coffee will be selectively picked and laid to dry on small raised beds. This coffee will usually be sold to a wet mill or collection center at the end of the season.

The final key ingredients for excellent coffee in Ethiopia are the producing traditions that have created the genetic diversity, processing infrastructure and great coffee we enjoy today.

Most producers in Ethiopia are smallholders, and the majority continue to cultivate coffee using traditional methods. As a result, most coffee is grown with no chemical fertilizer or pesticide use. Coffee is almost entirely cultivated, harvested and dried using manual systems.

 

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