Producer: Esayas Beriso
District: Hambela Wamena
Elevation: 2,000 – 2,350 m.a.s.l.
Variety: Dega (JARC)
Farm Size: 39.2 hectares
Exporter: SNAP Specialty Coffees
Flavor Notes: Raspberry, lemonade, brown sugar, coconut, melon, juicy body
Buku is one of the highest-altitude coffee growing areas in Ethiopia, which creates optimal conditions for stellar cup quality. The farm plots are scattered throughout the highlands at 2,000-2,350 meters above sea level. Farmers in the surrounding area transport their harvest on horseback due to the uneven terrain of the village.
Like so many in the coffee industry, Esayas Beriso began his career in an unrelated field, working in a government office in Dimtu. During this time, he and his brothers began a small operation of collectiong area farmers' red coffee cherries and selling them to local wet mills.
As this operation grew, Esayas planted his own coffee trees. In 2009, he left his government job behind to become a full-time coffee business owner. His wife, Meskerem Tomas, manages the harvesting operations on Buku Abel, their nearly 40-hectare farm. In keeping with the original business model, Esayas and family also purchase cherry from outgrowers, or, neighboring farms.
Esayas and Meskerem have two daughters. This young entrepreneurial family is optimistic about the future of Ethiopian specialty coffee.
The coffee cherries are collected manually and hand-sorted. They are then wet-fermented for up to 72 hours, washed in channels, and graded in water by density. The lower-density beans will float and are removed, leaving only the denser and therefore higher quality beans which are separated as higher-grade lots. After fermentation, soaking takes place for two hours. The coffee is then piled into two-centimeter layers and dried over a ten-day period, followed by hand sorting.
The Dega variety originated as a Gedeo local landrace, which is a variety selected from a wild coffee population that has adapted to its local environment and conditions. The literal Amharic translation of "dega" means "highland and cooler areas", which is consequently where this variety is often grown. As an official Jimma Agricultural Research Center (JARC) selection, this particular variety is likely genetically similar to the historical Dega local landrace.
Hambela Wamena, Guji
Coffees from Guji, in southern Ethiopia used to be mostly classified and sold as Sidamo. However, over the last decade, the region of Guji has been recognized more and more as a separate producing area (as it should be) and recognized individually for the quality produced from here.
Hambela Wamena is a district of Guji that borders the Gedeb region of Yirgacheffee. This area is known for its ripe cherry selection by farmers and good elevations.
All Photos Courtesy of SNAP Specialty Coffees