Flavor Profile Lime, cherry, strawberry, cocoa, sweet
Out of stock
Marta Alemu Kanke
1900 – 2000 masl
Heirloom cultivars 74112 and 74110
Gedeb district, Gedeo Zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region, Ethiopia
Full natural and dried on raised beds Variety: Heirloom cultivars 74112 and 74110
November - January
Marta Alemu Kanke grows coffee on 2.5 hectares of land in the celebrated Worka region of Ethiopia. Worka is part of Gedeb, 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” after another of its districts, Yirga Chefe.)
Gedeb is a terroir, history, and community all its own that merits unique designation in our eyes. The municipality of Gedeb itself is a is a bustling outpost that links commerce between the Guji and Gedeo Zones. It contains an expansive network of processing stations who buy cherry from across zone borders. Coffee producers here would argue (and we would agree) their coffee profiles are not exactly Yirgacheffe, but something of their own. The communities surrounding Gedeb reach some of the highest growing elevations for coffee in the world and are a truly enchanting part of the long drive into Guji. Coffees from this area, much closer to the Guji Zone than the rest of Yirgacheffe, can be some the more explosive cup profiles we see from anywhere in Ethiopia. Naturals tend to have perfume-like volatiles, and fully washed lots are often sparklingly clean and fruit candy-like in structure.
2.5 hectares is 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 Marta’s allow for greater personal control. Marta grew up assisting her family’s coffee harvest, and now with a 5-member family of her own, she has succeeded in securing an export license, a major feat for a modest size farmer in Ethiopia. Her farm typically hires 50 employees, a lot for a property of this size, to cover all harvesting 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.