It’s the time of year where we get to celebrate the latest crops from Ethiopia! It’s a massive occasion for us, in fact there’s no single event of the coffee year that we anticipate so keenly. The process of buying this coffee started in November as harvest progressed and we planned our purchases, and concluded only a few weeks ago with the arrival of the coffee to our warehouse. Good thing this coffee was worth the wait!
This fine Yirgacheffe coffee comes a washing station located near the town (kebele) of Chelbesa, in Gedeb woreda, Gedeo Zone, SNNPR. The station is at about 2050 metres above the sea (important because altitude contributes to complexity of acidity and sweetness levels), and it’s located in a region that has pretty much perfect weather conditions for growing, drying and processing coffee (truly – better soil health, plant and cultivar selection, health, cherry maturation and a more ideal overall climate we have scarcely ever seen in all of our travels).
Chelbesa is owned and operated by SNAP Coffee Trading, and is expertly managed by Girum Assefa. During our visit in February, we watched as under Girum’s watchful eye the station received and processed the cherries delivered by over 460 farmers (possessing Dega, Kurume and Wolisho varietals) who live around the area and deliver the coffee by mule and on their backs.
The story of SNAP coffee is an interesting one. We’re told that SNAP’s owner (computer importer Negusse Debela) drank an Ethiopian pour-over while on a trip to Minnesota and had a coffee epiphany, realising the goodness of what he had long taken for granted. On his return home, he set off on a mission to become Ethiopia’s best coffee exporter. Negusse hired the now legendary coffee professional Abenezer Asfaw to run his supply chain and sales. SNAP now operates 4 washing stations (two in Gedeb – Chelbesa and Danche Chelbesa, one in Uraga, Guji, and another in Chelelektu, Yirgacheffe) and partners with numerous others. SNAP is a fully integrated participant in Ethiopian coffee trade, overseeing the whole process: from washing station to logistics, dry milling, quality process and export.
We cupped samples from parchment form stored at the washing station and then later from coffee arrived into the warehouse in Addis Ababa to make our lot selections, ending up with three SNAP coffees. This one is a dry fermented experimental lot from the middle of the harvest.
What’s “dry fermented” mean? In this case it means DELICIOUS! (for the aficionados, we’d say it contributes a slightly higher attack of fruitiness in the acidity).
We’re proud to kick off our Ethiopian filter releases of this year with this bombshell gem of a coffee!
In the 2020 buying season, Ethiopian government authorities set minimum coffee sales prices by region, coffee grade and seller type. The minimum pricing stipulated by the authorities for the grades and type we buy fluctuated between $3.10 and $4.20 a pound (USD, FOB Djibouti) during the buying season. We’re stoked that Ethiopia has managed to command such a premium above commodity coffee prices (roughly a 1/4 to a 1/3 of the above prices). With this very safe “fairness” price floor in place, we do not disclose our prices in Ethiopia since, above these minimums stipulated, pricing is basically set by the seller.
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