Finding great coffees from Ethiopia is relatively straightforward, which is what makes finding one like this even more exciting. It has the hallmarks of a classic Gedeb natural process coffee but also a modern, head-turning array of tropical fruit and delicate florals that can be teased out during brewing. Both powerful and elegant, it will satisfy those looking for that berry syrup like experience as well as provide an adventure for those looking for a coffee that twists and turns every which way you brew it
Tewabech Shasho Dube grows coffee on 2 different plots of land in the historic Idido community of Ethiopia. Idido is part of Yirgacheffe, one of 8 woredas, or districts, that together comprise the dense and competitive highland zone of Gedeo. (The entire Gedeo zone is often referred to as “Yirgacheffe” thanks to the notoriety of this particular district.) Idido is one of Ethiopia’s best-known communities. It’s centrally located among Yirgacheffe producers, being just a few kilometers outside the town of Yirga Chefe itself—a surprisingly small community given its mythical stature as one of the world’s most gifted coffee landscapes. As a coffee terroir, this part of Gedeo has for decades been considered a benchmark for beauty and complexity in arabica coffee—known for being beguilingly ornate and jasmine-like when fully washed, and seductively punchy and sweet when sundried--and hardly requires an introduction.
Tewabech’s land totals 5 hectares, considered large for this area, where half a hectare is the norm. The vast majority of coffee processing in Ethiopia is centralized due to complete lack of infrastructure or efficiencies at the farm level, but larger plots like Tewabech’s allow for greater personal control. Tewabech grew up assisting her family’s coffee harvest, and now with an 8-member family of her own, she has succeeded in securing an export license, a major feat for even a farmer of this size in Ethiopia. Tewabech’s farm typically hires over 50 employees during harvest, a lot for a property of this size, to cover all picking and processing. Handpicked cherry is all floated for density and then placed directly onto drying beds, where they will be consistently turned and rotated for the few weeks that drying requires. The beds are covered at night to protect the cherry from settling humidity, as well as for a few hours each afternoon to prevent scorching from the searingly-hot midday sun.
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