The district of Gedeb takes up the south-eastern corner of Ethiopia’s Gedeo Zone—a narrow section of plateau dense with savvy farmers whose coffee is known as “Yirgacheffe”, after the zone’s most famous district. Gedeb, however, is a terroir, history, and community all its own that merits unique designation in our eyes. Coffees from this community, much closer to Guji 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 (and we would agree) would argue their coffee profiles are not exactly Yirgacheffe, 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 into Guji. Banko Taratu is one of the communities East of Gedeb and includes cooperative members that are union-affiliated, as well independent washing stations of various types, most of which are named after the town itself, which can create some confusion as the coffees make their way around the world.
This lot comes by way of the independent Banko Taratu processing site owned and operated by EDN Coffee Export, 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 natural processing during harvest. Incoming cherry to the site is inspected upon arrival for uniform ripeness and defect, and then immediately laid out to dry on the site’s raised beds, a process that typically takes 3-4 weeks.
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.