When Negusse Debela's company SNAP was looking for an area to produce great coffee, the area of Uraga in southern Ethiopia was without question going to be a focus. The high consistent elevations of Uraga, usually between 2,000 and 2,300 m.a.s.l., mean an almost unparalleled potential for quality in the country. When Negusse was given the opportunity to invest and manage a beautiful washing station located in the Raro Boda kebele (community) at the peaks of Uraga (at around 2,300 meters) it was dream come true.
Negusse Debela has not been in the coffee industry long. Nugusse is known in Ethiopia as a computer guy, running a large successful computer part import company. While coffee does not seem like a natural leap, Nugussie was inspired on trip to Minnesota where at a cafe he had a pour-over that changed his whole mindset. At that moment he realized the potential of coffee in his home country and upon his return he got right to work. Nugusse started off by touring coffee processing sites throughout southern Ethiopia to understand the farming and processing better. From that initial tour, Nugusse was determined to set SNAP on a course to be one of the best quality exporters in Ethiopia. To do this Nugusse started by hiring Abenezer Asafaw, an energetic young coffee professional, as his quality and coffee manager. Nugusse, with Abenezer by his side, has since bought land for SNAP to process coffee themselves, but have also started managing processing sites in Nensebo, Yirgacheffe, and Guji. In early 2019, SNAP finished the final touches on their own export dry mill, giving them full control of their product and quality.
Black Tea, Lemon, Red Fruit
Flavor wise this Raro Boda selection has a softer more rounded citrus acidity than other selections we taste from Guji- and this plays well with the med-to light juicy mouthfeel. The sweetness of this coffee is pronounced- certainly relating to the very good cherry selection. Most notably this coffee has a great balance of fruit and floral notes, not being fully dominated by either. In addition to these characteristics, the cup consistency was noted to be better than average. Overall this is a well balanced sweet Ethiopian coffee.
The Raro Boda washing station utilizes the traditional underwater fermentation popular in Ethiopia. The coffee is fermented underwater for approximately 24-48 hours, and then soaked for approximately 2 hours. After soaking the coffee is dried on raised beds for approx 10-14 days.
Coffees from Guji, in southern Ethiopia used to be 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). In addition, Guji and in particular the woreda (district) of Uraga, has become some of the most prized areas for coffee quality in the country. The high consistent elevations in Uraga coupled with the predominance of well known JImma Agricultural Research Center coffee varieties 74110 and 74112, lend the coffees in Uraga to be very dense with explosive and sweet flavors.
New in 2019
This is the first year that SNAP took over management of the Raro Boda washing station, and this was their first real venture for SNAP in the area of Uraga. The washed coffees have been fantastic from this location, but the natural was notable in achieving 2nd place at the AFCA Taste of Harvest with a 90.13 score.