Yirgacheffe (which translates to “Land of Many Springs”) has perhaps the perfect terroir for producing high quality coffee; the combination of altitude, biodiversity, and proximity to water sources is simply unmatched.
The climate is warm and temperate, with wet summers and dry winters, providing structured seasons for growing, harvesting, and processing coffee. To the naked eye the hills of Yirgacheffe appear to be heavily forested, but in reality they are densely populated with villages of farmers growing what is commonly referred to as “garden” coffee.
The majority of these farmers are multi-generational producers, who operate on just a few acres of land, more similar in size to gardens than full production farms.
These producers typically sell their coffee as whole cherries to centralized mills, which help to establish distinct flavor profiles through implementing meticulous standards for sorting, grading, and processing coffee.
Koke Washing Station
The family-owned Koke washing station was built in 2011, and now has more than 95 producing members contributing cherries during each harvest.
The mill itself sits on a large hill, with dozens of farms growing coffee both above and below the facility. For the last three years Koke’s managers have separated out higher and lower elevation coffees in an effort to ensure that only the best coffee is being sold to members of the specialty coffee community.
The operators of the mill have generations of experience, which is evident in their processing of Natural coffees. All of the cherries delivered to the mill are sorted by hand to assess for ripeness, density, and quality. The coffee is then dried on raised beds for 21 days before resting for a full month in a well-ventilated storage facility. The staff at Koke carefully monitors the speed at which the coffee is drying, preventing moisture from being lost too quickly, preserving the cup profile.
Like the majority of producers across Yirgacheffe, Koke’s members operate small “garden style” farms where they usually grow maize and other food crops alongside coffee. The operators of the mill provide guidance by teaching these producers more advanced farming practices specifically related to coffee, which has enticed other local producers to work with Koke as well. The result is a win-win; increased yields for the farmers, and better quality cherries for the mill to process and export.
This naturally processed lot showcases (1) the patient and attentive processing from the staff at the Koke washing station and (2) the exquisite terroir of the Yirgacheffe region.
Pour over brewing will yield a well balanced coffee with a tea-like mouthfeel and the acidity of dried fruit. Expect the flavor and aroma of raisins to meet the richness of bakers chocolate, cooling to present the vibrant sweetness of ripe cherries.
The AeroPress will offer a more full-bodied cup with a juice-like mouthfeel. Once again the initial flavor and aroma of dried fruit is matched by richness of chocolate and the fruitful sweetness of cherries. As the cup cools the flavor of black tea becomes more pronounced, as does a cream-like aftertaste.