Last year we purchased two stunning coffees from Israel Degfa: Mokonisa and Bulega. This year, our first Ethiopian release is another of Israel’s, called Qore after the small kebele where the washing station is located. It is one of a total of thirteen washing stations owned by Israel, that are scattered all across South and South-Western Ethiopia. Being the owner of the washing station he has in recent years decided to re-focus on turning out fine quality coffees rather than solely aiming to produce large quantities. Israel also owns a trading company called Kerchansche, and so has a handle on the coffee’s journey from the time the fruit arrives at his washing stations to the time it arrives into the UK. It can make things a little clearer when the producer and exporter of the coffee are one and the same, which is quite a break from the norm when it comes to Ethiopia. It may sound quite grand owning so many washing stations and a trading company, but Israel is a second generation coffee farmer with humble beginnings. As a child he used to pocket his bus money, opting instead to walk for hours to get to school in order to save up enough to buy his first stake in a washing station, and the rest is history.
Qore is located in the small woreda, or town, of Kochere in Yirgacheffe. Most of the smallholders selling their cherries to the station are only tending to a few hundred coffee trees. They are typically working organically, mostly due to the lack of availability of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Israel has been experimenting with shade drying and honey processing, and this year was our first time tasting an Ethiopian coffee processed as anything other than a traditionally washed or full natural process.
The cherries are soaked before going to the depulper, which helps to remove any unripe or insect damaged cherries. Rather than the traditional process of fermenting the mucilage covered coffee seeds they are put straight out onto beds and spread in thick layers for the first few days, before slowly being turned over and moved around so as not to clump together. The cool climate for drying coffees at such high altitudes in Yirgacheffe means that thick layers carry less of developing fermented flavours, which can happen with less carefully processed black honey coffees processed in more humid or temperature climates. The floral aromatics typical to Yirgacheffe seem to have been amplified, with the sweetness also being padded out in this particular lot, moving away from the more usual tea-like body to a more impactful and sugary mouthfeel.
Kochere, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
A vibrant, impactful cup, packed with clean citrus and jasmine notes. Expect candied peach & elderflower, as well as sweet tropical fruits, like guava and papaya.