The Idido Cooperative was established in the late 1970s, and joined the Yirgacheffe Farmers cooperative in 2002. Idido is also the name of the village where the cooperative’s centralised washing station is located, and from there the cooperative works with growers in eight surrounding kabeles (villages).
The cooperative, with its more than 1,000 members, has worked with growers in nearby communities to prepare single community lots and special processing. Coffee is hand picked by farmers and their families, before being delivered to the mill where it is de-pulped and mechanically de-mucilaged.
The resulting parchment is soaked for 24-36 hours before being graded in washing channels, separated into two grades and then soaked for a further 12-24 hours.
The coffee is then dried on elevated drying beds for 10-15 days. Parchment is continuously sorted during drying to eliminate defects.
Cherries, pulp, parchment?
As coffee is processed, it’s called a couple of different things. When it’ picked from the tree, the whole fruit is called a cherry. It helps to think about cherries you know to imagine the stages.
Just like the cherries we know here in Australia, below the thin layer of skin is the pulpy flesh of the fruit. It’s this layer that’s removed: hence the term de-pulping.
At this point the coffee beans soaked in water tanks, during which time naturally occurring enzymes dissolve the layer of mucilage surrounding the beans.
There’s still a thin layer of parchment that surrounds the bean itself, which is left on when the beans are dried on raised beds. Only after drying is the coffee de-hulled to remove the parchment. At this point you’re left with what’s called green coffee, which is packed and exported to us to be roasted here in Sydney.
The American National Coffee Association has a detailed breakdown of the steps of coffee processing.
Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union
The Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperatives Union (YCFCU), located in southern Ethiopia, was founded in 2002. It has grown to represent 23 member cooperatives which includes more than 300,000 families.
Over 60,000 hectares in the region are farmed for coffee, and alongside that you’ll often see shade trees planted such as bananas or maize, or existing forest canopy. Yirgacheffe’s temperate climate, altitude and the farmers’s use of organic fertilisers all combine to produce a very high quality coffee crop.
The Cooperative Union works hard to encourage and promote quality farming and crops. Premiums are paid to farmers above the commodity price on the Ethiopian Coffee Exchange (ECX) based on a quality grading system.