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Check out our Guide to Ethiopian Coffee Grades
Smallholder farmers organized around Banko Taratu processing site
1950 – 2300 masl
Regional landraces and heirloom cultivars
Gedeb, Gedeo Zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region, Ethiopia
Cold fermented natural dried on raised beds
October – December
This coffee was grown and processed in Gedeb, a remote trading town at the southern end of the world-famous Gedeo zone, a small and high-elevation plateau also known as Yirgacheffe. The arabica genetics and growing conditions of this area are historic to coffee and are well known for producing excellent, complex and fragrant naturals. This is an experimental natural process that involves extended fermentation in a colder-than-usual environment.
Gedeb's Significance and Coffee Profiles
The district of Gedeb takes up the south-eastern corner of Ethiopia’s Gedeo Zone. While seemingly wild and forested, the Gedeb district is actually teeming with coffee growers and processing stations. Gedeb, in our eyes, is a terroir, history, and community all its own that merits unique designation. Coffees from this region, much closer to Guji Zone than the rest of Yirgacheffe, are often the most 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.
The municipality of Gedeb itself is a is a bustling outpost that links commerce between the Guji and Gedeo Zones, with an expansive network of processing stations who buy cherry from across zone borders. These processors would argue (and we would agree) that their coffee profiles are not exactly Yirgacheffe, nor exactly Guji, 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 through Ethiopia's south. Banko Taratu is one of the communities in eastern Gedeb and includes numerous local cooperatives, as well as independent processing stations of various types, like this one.
EDN Ethiopian Coffee Export PLC
This lot comes by way of the independent Banko Taratu processing site owned and operated by EDN Coffee Export PLC, who manages a total of 4 different sites throughout southern Gedeo zone. EDN’s founder, Michael Gebreselassie, spent many years living in the United States (and working at the Port of Oakland, one of the busiest coffee ports in the country) and watching the popularity of Ethiopia’s coffee continue to grow. Feeling certain that the supply chain could be improved at the farm level, Michael founded EDN in 2018.
The Banko Taratu processing site receives cherries from farms up to 2300 meters in elevation, some of the highest in Ethiopia, and indeed the world. The site relies on a team of brothers, Seleshi and Degafe Beyene, to manage the cherry collection from all contributing growers, as well as 190 staff members who manage the day-to-day processing during harvest.
"Cold” anaerobic fermentation is a recent development at the Banko Taratu site. To accomplish the profile, fresh cherry is inspected upon arrival for uniform ripeness and defect, and then packed into large drums with a tightly-sealed lid and kept in a climate-controlled storage facility with temperatures between 8-15 degrees Celsius (46-59 degrees Fahrenheit) to slow and extend the fermentation process. Once fermentation is complete, the soft, syrupy cherry is then moved to shaded drying tables to dry slowly over the course of 2-3 weeks, and is later finished drying in full sun.
Despite being a young company, EDN has already begun investigating novel processing equipment and techniques. The company is experimenting with an electronic color sorter for precise cherry selection, something that has existed as a prototype for a number of years but has yet to really penetrate into the producer industry. In addition, the company is working with honey processing and anaerobic fermentation techniques across their processing sites, continuously chasing a portfolio of coffee profiles they believe will best serve their farmers and help the industry achieve new ideals.