Ethiopia - Sedaqa Olonso Qeke - Extended Fermentation
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We Taste: passion fruit, cherry cola, floral honey, and raspberry tea
Name of Site/Village: Sedaqa
Name of Kebele: Olonso Qeka
Name of District: Bona Zuria
Name of Zone: Sidama
Name of Region: Sidama
Washing Station: 2.2 hectares
Site Elevation: 2350 MASL
Owner & General Manager: Kebede Kawiso
Industry Manager: Petros Betena
Mechanic: Bekele Borsam
Coffee Varieties: Zipa
Soil Type: Loamy clay
More Info from Catalyst Coffee:
The Sedaqa Olonso Washing Station: All sites have a claim to beauty, since they are in the countryside of Ethiopia. But the Sedaqa Olonso site stands out for its simple breathtaking beauty that unfurls, step by step, as you walk down its steep slope. Sedaqa Alonso is a brand spanking new site. We visited in 2019 for the first time when the very first batches of coffee were drying on the range of raised beds and being scrubbed in the washing channels. There was an air of anticipation, and raw excitement about the entire site. Clear, lovely coffee trees dot the premises and offer sweet jasmine-like perfume. The tin storehouse was spotless; it even smelled new. A long, slanting driveway leads to the collection area where cherries from nearby smallholders are taken, weighed, and recorded. Then they are dumped into the large sun-dappled cement hopper and fed through the 3-disk Agard pulper into one of 9 fermentation tanks. Once the parchment-covered beans have been fermented for 24-72 hours to remove the sticky mucilage, they are released into long, wide cement channels. Here is another point at which Sedaqa Alonso stuns: the water from the nearby Morodo river is so clear we might as well be in Idaho. Wooden rakes scrub the coffee, and then it is carried to the drying beds to be lovingly hand-turned, covered against the wind and rain, and eventually brought to the warehouse once its moisture content has reached the ideal window of 10-12%. The site slopes aggressively toward the river, making it perfect to catch the cool uphill breeze and the benevolent sun. To facilitate drying, a high-quality neon green mesh covers the bamboo tables. Nearby nameless hills overlook the site; it is truly one of the most beautiful locations we've ever visited and by virtue of the sheer natural gifts of clean water an elevation can hardly fail to produce exceptional coffees.
The Producers: 400+ smallholder producers from the surrounding communities (kebeles) of Olonso Qeka, Olonso Hore, Bahire Dalo and Sedaqa bring their ripe cherries to the Sedaqa Olonso washing station. As is true in most parts of Ethiopian, their farms are small, ranging from backyard “garden” coffee to an average of 2.75 hectares. Coffee is a cash crop, and though often a grower may produce only 2 or 3 bags per year, sale of their cherries enables them to improve their quality of life, send their children to school and purchase necessities. Having a washing station within the area means that they do not have to trek so far with their cherries, which besides being much more convenient and efficient, enables the cherries to reach the station while still at their peak of freshness.