Tasting Notes: Strawberry sweetness, juicy peach, subtle bergamot & a hint of marzipan
Variety: JARC Selection 74158
Elevation: 2100 - 2300 MASL
Located within the famous Sidama coffee producing region of Ethiopia, the Kontoma Station works directly with just over a thousand smallholders to produce and mill coffee for export. Daye Bensa, the exporting organization in Ethiopia, provides assistance to producers to sell their coffee.
The owner of the Mirado Station, Asefa Dukamo, was introduced to coffee at a young age as his parents were cultivating coffee and other garden crops. In his teens, he began to supply neighboring washing stations with cherries purchased from nearby relatives and villagers in addition to his own family’s farm. He realised that there were not many washing stations nearby and he had to travel great distances to deliver his coffee. Thus began the idea to construct his own washing station to reduce the travel time for coffee producers in his region.
In 1997, he constructed a washing station in the Girja village, less than one mile from his parents’ house. The following year, another washing station was constructed in Eltama, 30 kms from Girja. Dukamo then moved to the Daye town in the Bensa district, setting up the mother washing station called Qonqana (the washing station one of our previous Ethiopian coffee was processed at). Eventually, a dry mill was added to provide facilities for naturally processed coffees. Asefa’s younger brother, Mulugeta Dukamo, is the co-founder of Daye Bensa Coffee exporters, and played a key role in the expansion of the washing stations. Today, Daye Bensa operates in six woredas: Bensa, Bura, Chabe, Hoko (Girja), Aroressaand Chire with 20 washing stations, five mills and three coffee farms.
As well as coffee, producers in the region will plant other crops such as sugarcane, a variety of fruits and “Inset”; a common indigenous plant that can be prepared as food in different forms. Income from coffee is important but minimal for most farmers due to the small size of their farms. As such, inputs are minimal – most coffee grown in the region is 100% organic, though not certified due to high certification costs, as farmers simply do not have the money to apply chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides.
Producers working with the Kontoma Station face a number of obstacles when growing coffee. This includesa lack of access to electricity, water, telecommunication and road access. In addition, producers in the region suffer from reduced exposure to knowledge on the best coffee farming practices which can directly impact yield and quality.
Fortunately, Daye Bensa has been working to combat these challenges, initiating their “Back to the Community” projects. So far, projects have included the building of roads to connect villages, installing electricity transformers and supplying producers with training in coffee plantation etiquette and better agricultural practices. Daye Bensa has numerous goals outlined for the coming years including an improvement on agricultural training and the construction of a Health Facility for producers and families. The impact the Dukamo family has on the region is significant due to the many farms they have been able to reach – educating youths about coffee production and connecting producers to global coffee markets.
For processing, the journey begins with only the ripest cherries being selectively handpicked. Producers generally travel 2-5 kilometers by horse or motorbike to the wet mill. Once collected, the cherries are delivered to the mill to be sorted based on density and quality. This process is carried out by submerging the cherries in tanks and removing the floating cherries prior to drying. After sorting, the beans are spread out on raised drying beds. Here, the coffee will dry in the open sun for 12-15 days whilst being turned regularly throughout the day time to prevent fermentation, mould and rot. Lastly, the coffee is delivered to the dry mill to be hulled and prepared for export.
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Information provided by Mercanta Limited