This year's harvest of Ethiopia Welena is a floral coffee with crisp flavours of red currants and black tea. The coffee comes from Tesfaye Bekele, an incredibly driven coffee producer that we have collaborated with since 2012.
Tesfaye Bekele, an agronomist, economist and coffee specialist, is one of the pioneers of coffee in Guji. The region was long overshadowed by the more famous regions of Sidamo and Yirgacheffe and had hardly any coffee production at all. After severe forest fires in the late 90s, Tesfaye, who had then left the family's coffee farm and instead worked with environmental protection for the Ethiopian government, was given the task of taking care of the affected areas. He planted forest and coffee trees to restore nature, and to provide people in the area with a source of income.
Tesfaye quickly realized that he had to take the lead in order to bring about a sustainable and long-term change for the area. He started a plant nursery and began growing coffee trees, but after he explained that these coffee trees would not yield a harvest in 4-5 years, interest was low among farmers in the area. Tesfaye then chose to resign from his office job, become a full-time coffee farmer, and started the farm Suke Quto. When the farmers in the area then saw how his land flourished and the first harvest was a success, many came to him and asked to buy seedlings from his nursery to grow coffee themselves. Many of these farmers still deliver their coffee cherries to the washing station owned by Tesfaye today.
The place where Suke Quto is located is characterized by high mountains, plateaus, and valleys. The volcanic soil in the area is very fertile and Tesfaye runs the farm using only organic processes. The coffee grows surrounded by other trees and shrubs and its branches and leaves are used as compost material to further enrich the soil. Most coffee trees were planted around 2004 and in addition to his 221 hectares of coffee trees, Tesfaye also buys cherries from 171 nearby family farms and processes them at the washing station. Every year, more than 200 people are needed to pick and process the coffee at Suke Quto.
At the washing station, the coffee cherries are rinsed in long channels to sort out only the really ripe ones. They are then peeled/pulped in a so-called Agared machine that leaves all the mucilage on the bean, i.e. the sugary layer that surrounds the coffee bean underneath the fruit. The natural sugar means that the coffee is then fermented in water tanks for 35-48 hours. The time depends on the weather - the hotter the weather, the faster the fermentation. Finally, they are put in another water tank to rinse off the last of the fermentation and give the coffee an even cleaner and crispier taste.
Tesfaye focusses on environmentally friendly coffee and on the economic growth of the community. In other words, people should get a living income from their sustainable coffee production. During 2021, a pilot project was implemented where all transactions in the payment chain can be tracked with blockchain technology. This means that everything is traceable, from the individual picker to the green coffee export. Very exciting if you ask us!
Producer: Tesfaye Bekele
Farm: Suke Quto Farm
Altitud: 1850-2000 m.a.s.l.
Variety: Welicho, Kurume
Taste notes : Floral, red currants, black tea
Content : 100% organic coffee