Taste Notes: Orange Candy, Molasses, Chocolate
Roast Level: Light
Farmer: Smallholder producers
Elevation: 1700-1800 m.a.s.l.
Lemon, lime, and grapefruit explode in fragrance, while honey, dark chocolate, Mandarin oranges, and coffee flower show up in the cup. Bright and delicate, this coffee features sweet acidity, juicy body, and caramel in the lingering finish.
Meet the farmer
Keffa is the land where the famed goatherd, Kaldi, was said to have discovered coffee. No wonder, with the land and the people steeped in 12 centuries of coffee culture, that offerings from here are out of the ordinary. The famed Geisha variety originated here, as did this coffee, Wush Wush, a local variety with similar flavor to Geisha, and named after the village of Wush Wush.
This past year, processor Tariku Alemu, with the assistance and oversight of Portland, OR-based Catalyst Coffee Consulting, gave this particular lot some extra TLC. They cleaned and calibrated screen sizes 13-17 to focus the range to include the most flavorful beans, then followed with meticulous sorting and processing for this intensely flavored offering.
Where it's grown
Some 460 km to the southwest of Addis Ababa, we find the Kaffa zone. Here where coffee is said to have been discovered, wild Arabica coffee still flourishes in the volcanic soils of the forest understory, high on the slopes of the surrounding mountains.
The Keffa region was once dominated by spreading rainforest. But when coffee prices declined, farmers turned to other crops, and to grow those crops, they began destroying the rainforest until the jungle had been reduced to a bare 3% of its original area.
However, there is a large-scale conservation project in operation in which the last wild stock of rainforest coffee is being carefully preserved and cultivated. Approximately 30 co-ops harvest and market this coffee to specialty markets, and over 40,000 people are seeing a boost in their income as a result. Furthermore, in 2010, Part of the Kaffa province was officially recognised as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and in 2012, lions were photographed there for the first time.