Konga Sede is the name of one of the washing station stations from Gizaw and Frehiwot, a married couple we work with that have washing stations and a small export company. They have invested a lot in coffee and quality the last few years, and we really believe in supporting them. Their coffees are generally also cupping great, and they are trying to improve their protocols and the way of processing.
This is a privately owned washing station in Konga, which is in the kebele or village, of Sede, in the Yirgachefe district. Konga is about 4 kilometers south of the town of Yirgachefe. it is managed by husband and wife, Gizaw Alemayu and Frehiwot Mekonnen as well as other active family members. They have three washing stations and a farm on their own and they also manages two more washing stations for their friends. They also have a private farm as well as they work with some very interesting farmer groups for naturals. The washing stations and those of the partners are located in the highlands in Yirgacheffe and Guji. They are progressive on quality production at their own sites and they also enter contracts with coffee farmers and local processors to produce coffees in accordance with the method of processing advised by them or us as buyers. They also started as exporters some years ago, and thats when we started to build our relationship with them.
They are separating the better qualities (grade 1) from whats a normal preparation for grade 2 and grade 3’s. They are training staff to improve the quality and put in a lot of effort and investment in the grading and sorting. They generally do lot separation based on 150 bags of parchment, equal to 100 bags of greens.
Producer philosophy and relationship
Gizaw is the the one that are operational and active at the sites through the whole season. He is actively working on quality improvements to increase the quality in flavor, and to increase the premiums of the coffee. He has great in depth knowledge of every aspect of the sites and coffee processing, and the local communities surrounding the washing stations. They also believe that investing in the local communities and help them to increase their income on the coffee adds value. Frehiwot is mainly managing the sales, contracting milling and export out of Addis.
Trace ability, milling and quality control
G & F is the name of both the coffee producing company and the export company of Gizaw and Frehiwot. As many others G & F started to actively work on processing, quality control and trace ability some years ago waiting for a political shift allowing producers sell directly to importers like Nordic. And finally in 2017 it all got liberalized.
They now manages the supply chain and trace ability. The coffees are separated according to the days and areas of harvest, by they farm or by producer groups as well as by preparation. The premium coffees for direct sales sits in the warehouses at the washing stations until they decide to move it to Addis. The coffee truck have to pass through a local ECX facility where they draw a sample and the quality is verified in the ECX lab and the coffee get an official grade, like Q 1 (grade 1). When approved the truck can move on to Addis.
G & F is currently renting space in a private warehouse and dry mill in Addis. But they are currently building their own. As soon as our coffee gets to Addis, or if we need samples to take buying decisions we communicate directely with Frehiwot thta allowes us to sample the coffees our selves in the warehouse. The samples will be brought to our own lab in Addis for cupping and quality measures.
As soon as a sample or contract is approved they allow us to be in the warehouse while coffees are dry milled, graded and bagged, and we can immediately draw another pre shipment sample for approval.
At the washing station
Some hundreds smallholder farmers delivering tiny amounts of cherries daily to the communal washing station.
On average farmers are having a farm size of less than 1 hectares. Most coffees are organic by default. Organic compost is common, pruning less common. A farmer can typically have less than 1500 trees pr hectar, and 1 tree is typically producing cherries equal to less than 100 – 200 grams of green coffee.
A mix of local improved variety’s such as native coffee of forest origin transferred to family smallholder plots. The varieties are referred to collectively as Ethiopian Heirloom, which is a myriad of local native Typica hybrids and new improved varietals based on the old strains.
Production process (washed):
Pulper: Traditional Agarde disc pulper
Fermentation: 24-72 hours wet.
Washed and graded in channels: Yes
Soaking: about 6 Hours in clean water.
Drying time: 9-15 days
Whole ripe cherries are hand sorted for unripes and overripes by the farmers before they go into production. They are pulped by a disk pulper and graded in to 1st and 2nd quality in the pulpers density channels. The parchment is then fermented under water for about 48 hours, depending on the weather conditions. After which graded in the washing channels by water flow that again separates the coffee by density. Its then soaked 6 – 24 hrs in fresh, clean water before it’s moved to the drying tables
The parchments is dried in the sun for about 10 – 15 days, depending on the weather conditions, on raised African drying beds. For the premium grades they will continuously sort the parchment at the drying tables. Coffees are covered in shade nets during midday and at night.