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Regional landraces 74110 & 74112
Gedeb District, Gedeo Zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region, Ethiopia
Full natural and dried on raised beds
Gebanesh Gulufa grows coffee on her 2.8 hectare farm in the Worka Sakaro community, located in the south-eastern corner of the coveted Gedeo Zone-- the narrow section of plateau dense with savvy farmers whose coffee is known as “Yirgacheffe”. This more remote corner of the Gedeo plateau centers its commerce around the trading city of Gedeb, a bustling outpost that links commerce between Gedeo and Guji zones, and, it must be mentioned, produces some of the most beautifully perfumed and candy-like natural coffees one can find in all of Ethiopia. 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. In addition to coffee Gebanesh grows common subsistence and local market crops like beans and peas.
The family farm originally came to her via her husband’s family: in Ethiopia farm land ownership is traditionally transmitted from the father to the son, and Gebanesh’s husband, Shiferaw Dukale, inherited the farm from his father. He however was often away from the farm working in the timber trade, without anytime for oversight, so he transferred ownership to Gebanesh, who for the past 20 years has managed everything herself.
This is the first year we have featured Gebanesh’s coffee. Coffee is Gebanesh’s main source of income that she uses to support her family, and her 35 employees during harvesttime for picking, processing, and milling logistics. Ripe cherries for this natural processed coffee were carefully hand sorted and floated to remove less dense coffee beans before drying on raised beds for 15-21 days. Beds are carefully constructed to ensure proper air circulation and temperature control, and throughout the drying process cherries are stirred multiple times per day for optimal air exposure. While drying cherries are also often covered during the afternoons—a very characteristic technique of southern Gedeo, where the midday sun is searingly intense.
Gebanesh exports her own coffee, something that is becoming increasingly possible for successful small farmers in Ethiopia but still extraordinarily rare. Which for Gebanesh means the rest of the processing work is done at a very small scale: Once the cherries finish drying to the necessary 11 percent moisture on the raised beds, they are stored on the farm in jute bags for a full month for the humidity to equilibrate across the batch and for the water activity to settle. The coffee is de-hulled in a nearby processing plant and then hand-sorted for visible defects. Samples are then sent around to buyers, and finally the bulk of the coffee is transported to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, to be milled and prepared for export according to agreed-upon specifications.