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We have purchased coffees from the Sidamo Logita mill since its first year of production, after Moplaco purchased the mill in 2017. Located at 2100 masl, and named for its water source, the Logita River, it is attached to a small hectare plot owned by Moplaco, allowing them to grow, process and export their own coffee, almost unheard of in Ethiopia. We are excited to be a part of this development, especially after having tasted a few small lots from the farm, including the Carbonic Maceration lot we are releasing alongside this one. This coffee is a more traditional washed process coffee, composed of cherries gathered in Hamesho, a village close by the mill in the far north-east of Sidamo. Hamesho is located on the edge of the Harenna forest, one of very few areas where coffee still grows completely wild. The forest is dense and humid, providing thick shade for the plants, and a vibrant ecosystem in which to grow, ideal conditions for producing the highest quality. This area is also of slightly higher altitude than most of western Sidamo, with some growing lands reaching up to 2300 m. This results in coffees with bright and clean acidity, but a heavier mouthfeel, and a more concentrated sweetness, showcased in the syrupy tinned peach character of this coffee.
How coffee is grown in Ethiopia
In Ethiopia, coffee still grows semi-wild, and in some cases completely wild. Apart from some regions of neighbouring South Sudan, Ethiopia is the only country in which coffee is found growing in this way, due to its status as the genetic birthplace of arabica coffee. This means in many regions, small producers still harvest cherries from wild coffee trees growing in high altitude humid forests, especially around Ethiopia’s famous Great Rift Valley.
There are three categories of forest coffee growing in Ethiopia, Forest Coffee (FC), Semi-Forest Coffee (SFC), and Forest Garden Coffee (FGC), with each having an increasing amount of intervention from coffee producers. Forest coffee makes up a total of approximately 60% of Ethiopia’s yearly output, so this is a hugely important method of production, and part of what makes Ethiopian coffee so unique.
Throughout all of these systems, a much higher level of biodiversity is maintained than in modern coffee production in most of the rest of the world. This is partly due to the forest system, and partly down to the genetic diversity of the coffee plants themselves. There are thousands of so far uncategorised ‘heirloom’ varieties growing in Ethiopia; all descended from wild cross pollination between species derived from the original Arabica trees. This biodiversity leads to hardier coffee plants, which don’t need to be artificially fertilised. This means that 95% of coffee production in Ethiopia is organic, although most small farmers and mills can’t afford to pay for certification, so can’t label their coffee as such. The absence of monoculture in the Ethiopian coffee lands also means plants are much less susceptible to the decimating effects of diseases such as leaf rust that have ripped through other producing countries.
share a coffee
When we choose to share a coffee, it’s because we feel it showcases clear character in the cup, the origin of which can be traced back through the coffee chain. We are inspired not only by sharing this carefully created raw material, but by conveying how each step of the coffee’s journey has led to what you find in your cup, be it terroir, varietal, post-harvest processing, or something else entirely.
We roast with a gentle touch in order to unveil these characteristics with the highest level of clarity. Be it a dense, high-grown heirloom varietal from Ethiopia, or a lower-grown Bourbon from Brazil, we always aim for this same clarity, and write taste notes as an introduction as to what to expect from the raw material. We would expect higher acidity and a lower body from Ethiopia, so would use notes such as citrus fruits and tea to describe this. From Brazil, we are more likely to use notes such as chocolate and nuts; to convey the heavy, sweet character and pleasant dryness we expect from lower-grown coffees.
The washed process involves completely removing both the cherry and the mucilage from the outside of the parchment with the use of friction, fermentation and water. After being harvested, the coffee cherry is then sliced open by either a metal or a sharp plastic blade. The two seeds (also known as beans) are pushed out of the cherry, which leaves the seed with mucilage as their outermost layer. It is essential in the washed process that all mucilage is removed from the seed which leaves only the flavor that developed in the cell structure of the seed prior to processing.
You can brew our coffees any way you want it is just a matter of the right ratios.