This coffee is from a private wetmill in the local community of Wote, in the famous Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia.
Yirgacheffe is known for its clean, floral and acidity-driven washed coffees and “high quality” sun-dried beans with genuine and unique fruit and berry flavors. And the Gedeo area where this coffee is grown has some of the most complex and intense coffee flavors in Yirgacheffe.
There are mainly small family plots of both recently planted trees of improved varietals and traditional old varieties. Organic fertilizer is common, pruning less common.
The producer is working closely with one of our partners to increase quality through systematic work at the wet mill. Coffee from this producer is available in limited amounts, and we’re excited to share some of the highest quality lots of this coffee with you in this delivery.
Ethiopian pronunciation is tricky, they’ve got a few sounds that don’t exist in English, but in case you’re wondering, Yirgacheffe is pronounced a little like Irga CH’EF-feh, and Wote has a soft sound, like wo-tay.
Let’s talk about processing
By now you’ve probably heard a few mentions of coffee processing, so let’s take a moment to talk about exactly what that is.
Wetmill workers sorting coffee cherries
The coffee cherries are hand sorted for unripes and overripes by the farmers before they go in to production. This is just the first of many times between picking and export that the coffee is hand-sorted to ensure consistency and quality.
The skin and pulp of the cherry is then removed, in the case of Wote wetmill this is done using a 3 disc Aagaard pulper.
The coffees are then fermented under water for 24-36 hours, dependent on the weather conditions.
It’s then graded in washing channels in to two grades based on density.
It is then soaked under clean water in tanks for 12-24 hours.
Raised drying beds
The coffee is then sun dried for 10–15 days days sitting on hessian cloths, on raised African drying beds. The coffees are covered in plastic during midday and at night to protect them from the extremes in temperature, and raked often to ensure all the coffee is exposed to light and air as it dries.
This approach to drying allows air to circulate around the coffee, drying it more evenly, one of the factors that gives Yirgacheffe coffee it’s distinctive clean flavour.
While originally an African approach to drying, these raised beds are now being introduced to other coffee mills across the world to help improve quality.