Qilenso is a privately owned washing station in Ethiopia’s Guji region – one of several regions which were previously grouped together under the wider area of Sidamo.
The washing station’s name, pronounced “Kilen-so,” translates to ‘Air.’
Coffee cherries are produced and delivered daily to Qilenso by 550-600 nearby small producers, who mostly farm organically on small plots of land of around 0.7 hectares.
Washed method involves hand-sorting coffee cherries to remove any damaged or unripe fruit, then the skin of the cherries is removed using a simple disc pulper.
The resulting coffee is then graded by weight; heavier beans are superior quality and deliver a sweeter cup. The lot we’re sharing is Grade 1, indicating that it’s the very best quality.
After grading, the parchment-covered coffee is then soaked in tanks of clean water for 16–48 hours to remove the mucilage (the fleshy pulp around the bean) by allowing it to ferment and detach from the coffee.
The coffee is then re-washed and graded again by density in washing channels and then dried for 10–15 days on African drying beds. The coffee is covered at midday to protect from full sun and overnight to prevent damage from morning dew.