Worka Chelbessa, Gedeo
Farm / Producer
400 smallholders / Firew Ayalew, Danche CWS
Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, the wild ancestor trees evolving in the humid cloud forests of the southern Ethiopian highlands, diverging over time to create a family of more than 100 species. Of particular interest to us as roasters and to you the enjoyer of a fine cup is “Coffea Arabica” – the Arabica coffee species that makes up 100% of our year round offer. While coffee has spread far and wide across the globe over the past 600 years, no origin can compare with the genetic diversity and perfect environmental conditions found in Ethiopia, its native home.
These wild genetics have been selected and improved over time – both by farmers creating varieties suited to cultivation in their particular microclimates, and by a governmental research program aimed at improving yields and disease resilience. It is no surprise that Ethiopia produces some of the most exciting coffees on our offer every year, coffees that offer a gateway into discovering the joy of speciality coffee. This lot is no exceptio, produced by over 400 smallholder farmers who sell to the Danche washing station.
Danche is located in Worka Chelbassa, in the Gedeo woreda (a ‘woreda’ is a area similar to a municipality). Just over 35 miles as the crow flies from the famous growing region of Yirgacheffe, the coffees produced in Chelbassa have their own unique cup profile, more fruit driven than the floral and citric coffees from Yirgacheffe. One aspect underpinning the quality at Danche is the altitude – the smallholders who bring cherry to the station are located around 2000-2300 MASL, with the high altitude and perfect conditions giving the best possible starting point for top quality cups.
But even the best cherry needs a deft touch - the station manager Firew Ayalew ensures that the sorting and processing are impeccably handled, with the results clear to taste. A 72 hour underwater fermentation (much longer than is given for commercial grade coffees) ensures a fruit driven cup with high acidity. Roasting a coffee like this for espresso is like walking a tightrope – balancing the expression of quality, complexity and acidity, whilst also ensuring the coffee is soluble enough to pull a consistently tasty shot. No mean feat, but then neither was the work taken to produce a coffee of this calibre! We hope you enjoy this concretated burst of tropical sunshine just as much in your cup as we have in ours.
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Dense washed Ethiopian coffee needs a firm hand – we’re recommending 18g in, 44g out in 32-36s. In milk, look for flavours of lemon meringue.