Flavor Profile Strawberry, plum, cocoa, sweet, clean
Tewabech Shasho Dube
1800 – 2000 masl
Heirloom cultivars 74112 and 74110
Idido community, Yirgacheffe district, Gedeo Zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region, Ethiopia
Full natural and dried on raised beds
November - January
Tewabech Shasho Dube grows coffee on 2 different plots of land in the historic Idido community of Ethiopia. Idido is part of Yirgacheffe, one of 8 woredas, or districts, that together comprise the dense and competitive highland zone of Gedeo. (The entire Gedeo zone is often referred to as “Yirgacheffe” thanks to the notoriety of this particular district.) Idido is one of Ethiopia’s best-known communities. It’s centrally located among Yirgacheffe producers, being just a few kilometers outside the town of Yirga Chefe itself—a surprisingly small community given its mythical stature as one of the world’s most gifted coffee landscapes. As a coffee terroir, this part of Gedeo has for decades been considered a benchmark for beauty and complexity in arabica coffee—known for being beguilingly ornate and jasmine-like when fully washed, and seductively punchy and sweet when sundried--and hardly requires an introduction.
Tewabech’s land totals 5 hectares, considered large for this area, where half a hectare is the norm. The vast majority of coffee processing in Ethiopia is centralized due to complete lack of infrastructure or efficiencies at the farm level, but larger plots like Tewabech’s allow for greater personal control. Tewabech grew up assisting her family’s coffee harvest, and now with an 8-member family of her own, she has succeeded in securing an export license, a major feat for even a farmer of this size in Ethiopia. Tewabech’s farm typically hires over 50 employees during harvest, a lot for a property of this size, to cover all picking and processing. Handpicked cherry is all floated for density and then placed directly onto drying beds, where they will be consistently turned and rotated for the few weeks that drying requires. The beds are covered at night to protect the cherry from settling humidity, as well as for a few hours each afternoon to prevent scorching from the searingly-hot midday sun.
There are precious few single-farm coffees available from this part of Ethiopia these days. Not long ago there were practically none at all. For the past 10 years, Royal, with support from select cooperatives, led the formation of the Single Farmer Lots Program, in order to break off single farmer lots from the larger cooperative blends sold anonymously through the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX), taking custody of these precious coffees through a direct sale. The program was a unique micro-channel of almost unprecedented specificity in coffee supply from Ethiopia during those first years. Farmers with the drive and means to sell direct were supported by Royal, and, in turn, our most enthusiastic buyers of Ethiopia coffee had access to a portfolio of single-farm lots, un-diluted by the typical cooperative- and exporter-level consolidations. The Single Farmer Lots Program represented a very sweet end to a chaotic chapter in Ethiopia’s coffee history, and we think it was a foundational model for what is happening now: the emergence of a new generation of micro-exporters engaged in start-up relationship farming in Ethiopia’s world-famous southern zones, putting more diversity and traceability into the global market than ever before.