Flavor Profile Jasmine, Lychee, Kaffir leaf, Lemongrass
750 smallholder farmers organized around the Dumerso wet mill
Indigenous cultivars 74110 & 74112
Gedeo Zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region, Ethiopia
Fully washed and dried on raised beds
October - January
Dumerso is a private washing station located just north of the town of Yirga Chefe, in the heart of the coveted Gedeo Zone—the narrow section of highland plateau dense with savvy farmers and fiercely competitive processors whose coffee is known the world over as “Yirgacheffe”. The Gedeo region is named after the Gedeo people who are indigenous to this area. As a coffee terroir, Yirgacheffe 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.
The Dumerso mill is owned by Hirut Berhanu, a woman with years of experience in coffee processing and logistics, including 5 years with the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX), where she was a member and gained experience in Ethiopia’s grading and export marketplace. Hirut originally acquired the Dumerso station in 2010—Dumerso was originally established in 1998, but it had never been fully operational. Within 3 years Hirut had the station completely transformed, and 2013 was the first year Dumerso opened for business. The station now employs over 400 individuals during harvest season, 95% of whom are women, as well as a site manager and quality specialist, Abenet Alemu, who is responsible for maintaining the cup quality the area is famous for. Abenet was born and raised in Yirgacheffe, so his knowledge of local coffee systems and traditions is deep. As a result, in addition to his task of optimizing local quality through processing, he has a critical role to play in community relations on behalf of the station. In 2014 Hirut and her sister, Mahder Berhanu, formulated Dumerso Industrial Trading PLC, a milling, roasting, and exporting entity capable of placing their own coffees directly in the international market.
During harvest farmers deliver ripe cherries daily to the Dumerso mill. Processing begins at 6pm where the coffee is depulped and the parchment floated for density and as a pre-wash prior to fermentation. Fermentation is done underwater in open tanks for 36-48 hours depending on the day’s local temperatures. Then the fermentation water is drained, during which the parchment coffee is briefly washed, and the clean parchment is moved to raised beds to dry. Drying takes 9-11 days depending on the day’s local temperatures, during which the parchment is consistently tossed and rotated, but always kept at a maximum 3cm of depth. Final moisture at Dumerso is typically 9.5-11.5%.
Now that coffee processing and exporting is a well-run operation, the team at Dumerso Industrial Trading PLC is setting their sites on farmer benefits. Last harvest they achieved both organic and Rain Forest Alliance certification for the station, and they are currently undertaking a project to establish a local plant to convert coffee parchment into a kind of pressed firewood, as a way of boosting income for the station to distribute to growers and to help local farmers rely less on local forests for their daily source of fire. They have also financed the installation of local power equipment that supplies the majority of electricity to local residents. Hirut and Mahder also provide financial loans and healthcare for permanent staff, and lodging and accommodations for all seasonal washing station workers.