Gera, in the Jimma zone of Southwest Ethiopia is where the wild coffee grows. The intact forests of this area are some of the last on earth where one can forage for coffee and where rare heirlooms can be found. The site of this coffee, Genji Challa, is a new washing station founded in 2018 as a second facility by the renowned Nano Challa Cooperative. This organization was the first to demonstrate the high potential for coffees from this region. Part of their innovative approach to quality is that they keep each day’s batch of coffee separate throughout the harvest and drying process, thus creating dozens of lots throughout the year.
Nano Challa began in 2004 with 25 members, similar to many co-ops. They aimed to bring smallholder farmers together in order to pool resources, create a distinct product, and find a better market for their coffee. In 2010, they received a large boost to their quality efforts due to funding from an NGO called Technoserve. New washing stations were built, and these allowed the co-ops to sell Grade 1 washed coffee rather than the low-priced Grade 5 naturals that they were producing. In 2016, several of these interconnected co-ops formed the Kata Muduga Farmers Cooperative Union, allowing them to come together at a larger scale to export their coffees and add more farmer-members.
This lot is designed with sustainability at top of mind. The coffee is certified organic and the washing station was created to use significantly less water through the use of eco-pulpers and sophisticated runoff filtration techniques. The coffee is soaked and washed using an innovative metal grate system, then dried on raised beds for 9-14 days.
This coffee is the epitome of why we love this region, completely distinct from the great coffees we see from Yirgacheffe and Guji. The cup is citric and floral, as we expect, but it is structured against a balance of sweetness, complexity, and a light juicy mouthfeel. Look for fruit notes of clementine, sweet floral hibiscus, and earl grey tea in your cup!