State: Southern Oromia
Farmers: 650 small producers
Washing Station: Alemu Baketo
Altitude: 1,900-2,100 metres above sea level
Variety: Bourbon, Typica, Heirloom Varieties
Processing: Fully washed
Complex and floral. Notes of white peach and blackberry.
ABOUT ALEMU BAKETO (with thanks to Melbourne Coffee Merchants)
Alemu Baketo (pronounced “Ale-mu Ba-ke-to”) originates from the Kochere ‘woreda’ (administrative district) in Ethiopia’s Gedeo zone of Yirgacheffe.
The coffee is processed at the privately owned Gotiti washing station which sits at 1,850m above sea level, near the town of Gedeb. Coffee cherries are delivered daily to the station by around 650 small-holding farmers. These producers farm on small plots of land (averaging two hectares in size) located 1,900–2,100m above sea level.
ABOUT KOCHERE, YIRGACHEFFE
Kochere is a ‘woreda’ or district within Yirgacheffe. It is located south-west of the town of Yirgacheffe, near the little village of Ch’elelek’tu, in the Gedeo Zone.
At first glance, the entire region’s lush green hills appear thickly forested, and yet it is densely populated. In total there are around 43,000 small-holder farmers growing ‘garden coffee’ in Yirgacheffe, over approximately 62,000 hectares. Coffee is an important cash crop for these families, which they grow alongside food for consumption.
Kochere is named after the Indigenous Gedeo People. The mountainous micro-region has long been renowned for its exceptional coffee. A unique combination of very steep yet fertile land, located at high altitude, means much of the coffee grows at over 2,000m above sea level. At this altitude, exceptional heirloom varieties and iron-rich, acidic soil create ideal conditions to produce some truly spectacular coffees like this one.
This coffee is a mix of local varieties, including native coffees from forest origin that are collectively known as ‘Ethiopian Heirloom’. All of these varieties are Arabica and most originate from a Typica predecessor, but with wild mutations that result in some exceptional and unique flavour profiles.
This coffee has been processed at Alemu Baketo Washing Station using the washed method. It is classified as Grade 1, indicating that a lot of effort has been put into the selection and grading during processing.
Each day, carefully hand-picked coffee cherries are delivered to the Alemu Baketo mill and are meticulously hand-sorted prior to processing to remove unripe, overripe, or damaged fruit, in order to enhance the quality and sweetness of the cup.
The coffee cherries are then pulped to remove the fruit and skin, and then graded by weight; heavier beans are superior quality and deliver a sweeter cup. After grading, the parchment-covered coffee is soaked in tanks of clean water for 24–48 hours to remove the mucilage (sticky covering) by allowing it to ferment and detach from the coffee.
The coffee is then re-washed and graded again by density in washing channels and soaked in clean water for 12–24 hours. The coffee is then dried for 10–20 days on African drying beds, firstly under cover and then subsequently in the sun. Whilst drying, the coffee is carefully hand-sorted, and any defects are removed. It is also turned regularly to ensure that it dries evenly and consistently. At midday, the coffee is covered to protect it from full sun. It is also covered overnight to prevent damage from morning dew.
Once the coffee is dry it is rested in parchment until it is ready for export.
WHY WE LOVE IT
Although thousands of bags of coffee marked ‘Yirgacheffe’ are sold annually, there are significant variations in cup quality. We assessed many samples of Yirgacheffe to ensure it possessed the exceptional cup profile we were looking for; a coffee exhibiting an intense floral aroma and delicate acidity, with notes of bergamot and lemon.
This Alemu Baketo coffee is a stunning example of an exquisite washed Yirgacheffe. Its elegant floral aroma, buttery mouthfeel, caramelised white peach sweetness blends beautifully with complex notes of blackberries.