Abera Gedela is a coffee farmer who relocated to the Gedeb district in 1979, establishing a five hectare farm there in 1982. He was a founding member of the Worka cooperative in 2006, and is still a member to this day. His farm was selected as a model example, and although his coffee is sold through the centralized ECX auction system, this lot is fully traceable through the partnership Royal has established with the YCFCU (the umbrella Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union covering coops in the Gedeo Zone) to highlight single farmer lots. While not unheard of, it’s exceedingly uncommon to find a single-farmer lot from Ethiopia, so Gedela’s coffee presents a unique opportunity to taste a very specific regional terroir.
Gedeb lies to the south of Yirgacheffe town, both cities in the Gedeo zone, one of the smaller administrative divisions in the vast Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Ethnic Region of Ethiopia. Gedeo receives its name from the ethnic majority in the region, and shares a border to the north with the much larger Sidama zone, and is surrounded on the East, South, and West by the Oromia Region, currently plunged into political turmoil.
Drying coffee in the cherry, as Abera Gedela has done with his coffee here, is the original tradition in Ethiopia. Coffee is not just a cash crop; it’s a way of life. Ethiopian coffee culture runs deep even in the rural farmlands, and it’s entirely common to see a day’s harvest from a small private coffee garden drying in the cherry on a porch or patio. Ethiopia is among the only producing countries where coffee farmers roast and brew their own harvest.
Abera Gedela is growing two of the most common old growth cultivars found in Ethiopia. Kurume is recognized by its compact growth pattern and small leaf and berry size, while Wolisho is much larger both in leaf and berry. The coffee is relatively small, and it rivals CJ1053 for the title of densest natural process coffee we’ve analyzed. The screen size is slightly small but evenly distributed at 90% between screens 14-16. Its slightly elevated water activity reading might mitigate some of the effects of density on roasting, so it’s worth your time to keep an eye on Jen’s roasting recommendations.
This coffee is absolutely huge and bursting with flavor which made it difficult for folks at the cupping table to choose a favorite. Our second roast, PR-397 was shorter in overall duration and had a larger fruit presence in the cup, compared to PR-398, which was almost 2 minutes longer and had an end temperature that was a few degrees lower. If you do not like a sweet and syrupy, concord grape concentrate, you can stretch out the roast for a more balanced mixed berry cobbler with flaky butter pastry. I’ll stick with the grape. I hope you enjoy roasting this super sweet coffee.
Abera Gedela? More like a berry smoothie!
Plenty of berries came out in this coffee, especially in the clearer and more expressive PR-397 roast. Gentle blue raspberry (think Otter Pops or Icees), as well as distinct blackberry pie flavor were loud and clear in our tasting notes. It’s safe to say that if you don’t like berry flavors in your coffee, this is not the coffee for you… but if you do, this coffee is an exquisite treat. A curious tinge to this coffee made me think of juniper berries as well (more Hendrick’s than Beefeater). PR-398 brought out a long chocolatey finish, but wasn’t our preferred roast due to the sheer expressiveness of PR-397.