Royal has an amazing micro-lot collection from the Single Farmer Lots Program
, but let’s not take them for granted. Alemayehu Alako’s story aptly illustrates that the Ethiopian evolution of traceable micro-lots goes way beyond the ECX exporting obstacles that were recently removed. Alemayehu produced one of the first single farmer lots for Royal, but the demand for only the best micro-lots meant that Royal had to pass on purchasing Alemayehu’s coffee in 2016. Fortunately, yearly farm visits from Royal CEO Max Nicholas-Fulmer and regular communication with farmers through Haile Andualem
, Royal’s representative on the ground in Ethiopia, made it easy to identify the problem. Alemayehu was drying cherries in thicker layers to accommodate larger volumes, which was a mistake that negatively impacted the consistency of his coffee. The following year Alemayehu added more drying tables to help adhere to the program’s stricter post-harvest protocols. The quality returned and we are pleased to have Alemayehu’s coffee back in the lineup of Single Farmer Lots.
Ripe cherries for this natural processed coffee are carefully hand sorted and floated to remove less dense coffee beans. Next the cherries are dried in thin layers on raised beds for 15 to 20 days and turned regularly to avoid over-fermentation and mold. Raised beds are carefully constructed to ensure proper air circulation and temperature control, for optimal drying. Cherries are covered during the afternoons to prevent harsh drying in the intense sun. Once the cherries have dried to 11 percent moisture, they are transported to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, to be milled and prepared for export.