Gedeo Zone, Yirgacheffe
Taste Notes: Blueberry Lemonade, Strawberry, Jasmine
Roast Level: Light
Farmer: Smallholder producers
Elevation: 1850-2300 m.a.s.l.
Lavender and jasmine fragrances swirl champagne-like with kiwi and key lime, then waltz into sparkly blueberry lemonade, strawberry, and black tea flavor notes. Caramelized, with a sweet and delicate acidity and rounded body. Exemplary.
Meet the farmer
If there was such a thing as “limited edition” in coffee, this double-washed lot would qualify. A pre-processing wash by a trained team removes less dense beans, allowing the most flavorful ones to remain. The “floaters” are sold locally, bringing a respectable price, and this extra step yields a higher grade of specialty coffee, bringing better prices than if floaters were included.
97 full-time employees work at the mill, where the yellow plastic used to wrap drying coffee contrasts with bright green hills and a sky of cerulean blue. This year, Reko’s specialty coffee earned a Q1 grading from the Ethiopian government, a stellar honor.
Where it's grown
The Gedeo zone in the southwest of Ethiopia, is the homeland of the Gedeo people. Lying about 369 long kilometers from Addis Ababa on dusty and often difficult roads, this zone occupies a narrow strip of the Ethiopian highlands on the Eastern Escarpment and includes the town of Yirgacheffe itself. Gedeo is bordered by Sidama on the north, and encircled on the other three sides by the Oromia region.
In Gedeo, Yirgacheffe, approximately 25,000 local coffee smallholders bring their cherries to washing stations for processing. Inter-tribal conflicts in late 2016 resulted in extensive property damage through fire and vandalism, with many key mills rendered inoperative. Furthermore, a rare late frost damaged thousands of hectares of coffee. Resilient and hopeful, the Gedeo people are forging ahead, producing natural coffees while working to repair washing facilities.