Price $6.71 per pound
Bag Weight 66.94 lbs
Flavor Profile Strawberry, cranberry, guava, jasmine, caramel
750 producers organized around Aricha processing station
1950 – 2100 masl
Indigenous landraces and cultivars
Aricha kebele, Yirgacheffe woreda, Gedeo Zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region, Ethiopia
Fully washed and dried on raised beds, and milled to zero defects
October – January
The Aricha washing station is an independent processing site named after the kebele or municipality in which it’s located. The Aricha area is part of the larger Yirga Chefe (also spelled Yirgacheffe) area, one of 8 woredas, or districts, that together comprise the dense and competitive highland zone of Gedeo. Gedeo itself, though a large and complex producing region for coffee, is often commercially referred to as “Yirgacheffe”, after the Yirga Chefe district whose historically significant coffee terroir brought notoriety to the entire zone.
Aricha station was originally constructed in 2009 and employs a processing staff of about 250 during harvest months. In addition to traditional fully washed coffees, the station produces sundried naturals as well. Fully washed coffees, such as this one, are hand sorted and depulped the day of picking, fermented overnight, and then dried on raised beds between 12 and 15 days.
“Grade Zero” is a custom dry-milling specification born from a collaborative effort between Royal Coffee and Aricha’s milling and exporting partner, Ranger Industry & Trading. Once dried and rested, the parchment coffee is treated to extra sorting steps at the dry mill, including multiple additional passes in the color sorter and a longer, slower hand-removal of imperfections. The idea is to present a better-than-Grade 1 result, hence the grade “0”. We want coffees like these to inspire roasters to consider new possibilities for Gedeo sourcing and producer collaboration, as well as motivate producer groups to come up with innovative targets of their own. Southern Ethiopia has long been a place Royal has wanted to see surpass its (admittedly, ridiculously high) status quo, and each coffee like this is a small step in that direction.
The original idea of the Grade Zero initiative was to design a near-perfect rendition of top microlots from throughout southern Ethiopia. Royal started with a single washing station in Gedeb, and small volumes—only about 100 bags. These experimental microlots from a few years ago have grown into a steady, annual grade that we pay a premium for, and whose audience is rapidly growing. This lot, for example, is a full container of vacuum pack boxes. And it's exquisite in the cup: full of flavors like Earl Grey tea and dried peach, with a lavender-like florality.