About Ethiopia Abirham Jareso Natural Grade 1
Latest arrival April 2021. Field notes by Barry Levine.
In late January 2020 I traveled to Ethiopia as the new harvest was finishing up. While there I cupped hundreds of coffees and traveled throughout the major growing areas of Yirgacheffe and Guji, both in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region region which also includes Sidama. The region, sometimes shortened to SNNPR. is one of ten region-states throughout the country and has a population of roughly 15 million people out of Ethiopia's 105 million. After arriving in the nation's capital Addis Ababa, we spent a couple of days cupping a hundred or so recently harvested lots at an importer's lab, several of which coffees seemed particularly noteworthy. On the third day at dawn we trekked by 4x4 vehicle south into the Yirgacheffe region, over rough and dusty roads that became the norm after the paved ones ended. People were everywhere along the way, walking alongside the road or in the many three wheeled "bajaj", the blue and white taxis, that are in abundance and which seem as if they will all collide but yet somehow do not. Add to the mix lots of farm animals crossing the road, oblivious to vehicular traffic. Ten hours later, covered in dust, and sore from being bounced around much of the day, we arrived at the first mill. As we pulled into the compound some thirty or forty member farmers and their children broke out in song and dance to greet us, a beautiful and joyous reception that lasted about a half hour. We were seated in a large tented space wrapped with chairs all along the perimeter, our importer host being honored at the center. He is the connection between this very small number of dedicated and generally poor producers and buyers in various parts of the world.
Among the many, many coffees cupped during this trip a couple of Naturals stood out including this lovely selection produced by Abirham Jareso. I did not get to meet Abarhim during this trip but learned that he is 50-years old and was born and raised in Sugale town. He is the father of 8 children and produces top quality Yirgacheffe Natural coffee on his 6 hectares of land. He used to sell through the Ethipia coffee exchange but since 2019 his coffee has caught the attention of and sells directly to our quality oriented exporter and he can now derive a higher income for his effort along with some name recognition. His wants to maximize his coffee production to fulfill basic needs for his children without financial difficulties.
In general I found the best cupping washed coffees coming from Guji and the most flavorful Natural processed coffees from Yirgacheffe. These two areas border one another. In years past Yirgacheffe had the reputation for quality coffee that was known around the world while Guji was relatively unknown. While they share a similar climate, producers in Guji were at a disadvantage, strictly based on reputation. There are quite a few accounts of coffee from Guji being taken over the border to Yirgacheffe to be sold there. But in recent years Guji has justly gained its own reputation. And while much of the Yirgacheffe coffee was, and in some cases still is, washed processed coffee, there is a great deal more Natural processing being done there and done well. Mainly there are traditional methods but some portable technology is used, often the gift of others, to measure moisture, water activity and the like, each a determinant toward quality standards.
- Farmer: Abirham Jareso
- Region: SNNPR (Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region)
- Zone: Gedeo
- District: Yirgacheffe
- Sub District: Sugale
- Town: Yirgacheffe
- Processing: Natural process
- Variety: Kurume, Wolisho, 1377/ Anigafa/, 14110 and 12174
- Harvest: The harvesting time starts from Med October up to November
- Altitude: 2042 meters
- Soil Type: loam soil
- Age of Trees: In average 36 years
- Drying Time: 14 days on raised beds
- Export Mill: Abebe Mulugeta Coffee Processing Mill, Addis Ababa
Cup Characteristics: Flavors of milk chocolate/raisin candy bar, blackberry. Sweet, round. Significant fruit intensity, assertive but not overpowering. Clean, long finish.
Roasting Notes: City-City+. Reminder that Naturals have more chaff. Finish about a minute past first crack and slow down development time. Pull before 2nd crack gets underway.