Notes: Peach, Lemongrass & White Grape
Origin: Gedeb, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
Producer: 276 Small Holder Producers Surrounding the Danche Mill
Importer: Shared Source
Processing: Fully Washed
Altitude: 1950-2300 masl
Harvest: Winter 2020
Varieties: Wolisho, Dega & Kurume
Deep in the Gedeb district (or woreda) in the overarching Gedeo zone of Ethiopia lies the town (or kebele) of Chelbesa. Close by lies the newly minted Danche wet mill where about 475 local small holder farmers bring their coffee cherry to be processed and prepared for export. Relatively high altitudes and new infrastructure make this mill one of the most exciting additions to a region that is already known for producing some of the most sweet and complex coffee in Ethiopia. Even in its first year, there were high expectations for the Danche mill to be churning out exceptionally high quality, and we think they nailed it.
Key to producing high quality coffee are altitude, soil health, weather, and the right milling setup. Coffee brought to the Danche mill have the perfect combination of these attributes for producing quality coffee. Located above 2050 meters or 6725 feet above sea level, the farmers in the Gedeb district are fortunate to farm in dense forest vegetation with ideal weather conditions. These elements combine to slow the rate of cherry maturation leading to the expression of heightened complexity in the roasted coffee.
As we learn more about coffee varieties through genetic sequencing, the coffee industry in Ethiopia is able to isolate specific varieties. Production lots composed of a variety mixture once just referred to as “heirloom” can now be sorted out and distinguished for their ideal agricultural attributes. This lot from the Danche mill is a blend of the Dega, Kurume and Wolisho varieties.
Dega is a regional landrace (indigenous) variety native to Gedeb. The Amharic word “dega” translates to “cool highland area” which is a fitting name given the geographic in which this variety originates.
Kurume is also a regional landrace variety from the Gedeo zone. This variety was isolated and planted for its resistance to coffee berry disease - a disease which wiped out a huge swath of coffee plants in the 1960’s. Kurume coffee variety is named after the local Kurume tree as the two plants share attributes of high yields of small fruit.
Wolisho once again is also a landrace variety native to the Gedeo zone. The plant has relatively inconsistent yields and produces large cherries which makes it the least planted variety in the region.
Despite moving into the time of year where the new crop of coffee from Ethiopia is beginning to arrive, we chose to top off our menu with this lot in an effort to sit on new crop offerings from Ethiopia. It is typical for the first fruits of the Ethiopia coffee arrivals to need a little holding time before fully expressing their flavor potential. Lucky for us, there are still a number of coffees from the previous harvest that are bursting with flavor and show no signs of fade, or age. This lot from the Danche mill is in its prime, expressing the fruitiness of peaches, the sweetness of white grape, and the citric acidity of lemongrass.