About This Coffee
Wolichu Wachu washing station was built in 2017 by the Harso Haru Mude Farmer Cooperative. Many washing stations in Guji and across Ethiopia are older and were established in the 1980s or 1990s. Wolichu Wachu has been able to benefit from 30+ years of accumulated knowledge about washing stations in Ethiopia.
The way this knowledge impacted the station can be seen in many ways, but one way that’s immediately apparent is the station’s layout. By positioning intake at the top of a small incline and placing subsequent processing steps further and further down the hill, the station can take advantage of gravity and increase its overall efficiency. At the bottom of the hill, the spacious and well-organized drying field gets even, predictable sunlight. Thanks to their layout, the station does not need the pumps that many older stations use to move coffee through the processing infrastructure.
Harvest & Post-Harvest
At intake, cherry is pulped in a pulper outfitted with a density grader. The density grader separates lights and floaters so they can be processed separately, as lower grades. The denser coffee is wet fermented for 36 to 72 hours. Water is changed 3 times during fermentation.
Following fermentation, parchment is pushed through washing and grading channels. The grading channels separate parchment by density. The highest quality density is soaked for an additional 8 to 12 hours.
Wet parchment is transferred to the drying field. That first day, parchment rests on the pre-drying tables where excess water can easily drain off and employees inspect wet parchment. It is easier to detect and remove defects in wet parchment. After one day on the pre-drying tables, the drying field staff transfers the wet parchment to raised beds where it will dry for up to 12 days. Staff regularly turn the parchment to ensure even drying. Once dried, the coffees rest in a cooperative warehouse.
Ethiopia Grade 1
Grades in Ethiopia depend on visual inspection for defects and on cup quality. Grade 1 is considered the highest quality coffee. Grade 1 and 2 are considered specialty coffee, grade 3-9 are classified as commercial coffee. Grade 1 is free of cup faults and taints and has zero quakers.
Coffee in Ethiopia
While Ethiopia is famous as coffee’s birthplace, today it remains a specialty coffee industry darling for its incredible variety of flavors. While full traceability has been difficult in recent history, new regulations have made direct purchasing possible. We’re partnering directly with farmers to help them produce top quality specialty lots that are now completely traceable, adding value for farmers and roasters, alike.
The exceptional quality of Ethiopian coffee is due to a combination of factors. The genetic diversity of coffee varieties means that we find a diversity of flavor, even between (or within) farms with similar growing conditions and processing. In addition to varieties, processing methods also contribute to end quality. The final key ingredients for excellent coffee in Ethiopia are the producing traditions that have created the genetic diversity, processing infrastructure and great coffee we enjoy today.
Most producers in Ethiopia are smallholders, and the majority continue to cultivate coffee using traditional methods. As a result, most coffee is grown with no chemical fertilizer or pesticide use. Coffee is almost entirely cultivated, harvested and dried using manual systems.