Banko Okoto, Yirgacheffe
JARC Varieties, Local Landraces
650 Producers Delivering to Aramo Station
The region of Yirgacheffe produces some of the world’s most unique flavours in coffee, due in part to the local terroir and the yet-to-be-fully-explored genetics of Ethiopia’s coffee trees. Ethiopia also ranks among the most skilled and precise processors of coffee, particularly naturally processed coffees, which have a trademark fruit and floral bouquet which is instantly recognizable to even the novice coffee lover. The natural process – which involves drying the beans within the fruit of the coffee cherry – has a cultural as well as economic significance to farmers here, as it is not only a traditional method going back centuries, but also minimizes resource usage of things such as water, space and human labour.
This isn’t to say it is a lazy man’s method. In fact, many farmers around the world have failed spectacularly when trying to replicate Ethiopia’s traditional processing. The ripeness, cleanliness, and consistency of the cherry must be carefully inspected prior to processing, with a strict standard of intake at the collection point. Then, for natural coffees, an even layer of cherry on the raised beds, turned at precise intervals, ensures the moisture within the beans is evenly distributed – allowing for easier roasting and better expression in the final cup.
The Aramo washing station (who also process washed coffees as well as natural) collect cherry from surrounding farmers who live at very high elevations of around 2000 meters above sea level. Coffee is a huge part of local life in the mountainous region of Yirgacheffe, where the average farm size is less than 1 hectare, and farmers traditionally intercrop with subsistence crops such as cassava, maize and sorghum. Though not certified, the vast majority of Ethiopia’s coffee farms are what is referred to as ‘passive organic’, meaning they use no chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
This particular lot was processed slightly differently than the traditional natural method, using a short but powerful intervention called ‘anaerobic fermentation’ to increase the fruit and booze notes in the cup. This involves sealing the sorted cherry in airtight bags for up to 24 hours before drying, allowing the natural ripening process to continue and for even more complex sugars to develop. The results are a powerfully expressive cup with some unusual flavours, even for Yirgacheffe. Spiced rum, blueberry cheesecake (!!!) and gooey morello cherry, delicious as a straight espresso and simply a delight in a flat white or latte.
This year, each of our Ethiopian offerings will raise money for Project Waterfall, a charity whose current project is building clean water and sanitation facilities for communities in Ethiopia. Not only is clean water a human right, it is also one of the most important protections against COVID-19. As coffee lovers, many of us look forward to Ethiopian coffee season every year. What better way to celebrate this beautiful and foundational country - coffee’s original origin - than to give back to those who live there.
Caravan Coffee Roasters are proud members of 1% for the Planet. For more information please visit https://www.onepercentfortheplanet.org
We are offering this coffee as a single origin espresso due to its unique concentrated fruit flavours, but it also makes an amazing filter coffee. With any naturally processed coffee, underextraction will often produce some sour or acetic flavours, so when in doubt best to slightly updose. We recommend a dose of 18 grams to 40-42 grams, with a total shot time of 31-33 seconds. For filter, a standard ratio of 1:16 on most brew methods will produce solid results.