Ethiopia Bensa Shantaweni
Starfruit, Mango, Cacao Nibs
Country/Region: Ethiopia/Sidamo, Benesa
Varietal: JARC varieties, Local Landraces
Processing: Anaerobic Natural
Elevation: 1860 - 1990 m.a.s.l.
We Taste: Starfruit, Mango, Cacao Nibs
Located in Bensa, Sidamo, Bensa Shanteweni washing station sits at about 1900 meters above sea level. Over 300 smallholder farmers deliver to this washing station from farms that are typically less than 5 hectares each. Farmers typically cultivate local landraces and JARC varietals, some of them unique to the area. This blend of varieties lend a level of complexity to coffees from Sidamo, attributed to the diversity of local landraces.
Most producers also employ traditional farming methods, with intercropping of other crops amongst the coffee, providing food and an alternative source of income. Most farms are organic-by-default - farmers in Sidamo use very few fertilisers or pesticides, if any at all. However, organic certification comes at a cost and requires partners in the entire supply chain to be certified, and the efforts required are usually better-employed in other areas.
As more producers enter specialty coffee, unique processing methods are a new way to stand out amongst other sellers. This lot starts off with handpicked ripe cherries, which is inspected at the receiving station. Coffee that meets the mark is tightly packed in GrainPro bags and sealed shut. Here, the coffee ferments anaerobically for 72 hours, or 3 days.
After fermentation, the coffee is removed from the bags and laid on raised beds to dry in direct sunlight. The coffee is turned regularly, and dried for about 2 to 3 weeks. The added fermentation in an anaerobic environment causes microbes that flourish on carbon dioxide to thrive and produce a characteristic flavour outcome, giving this coffee a rich tropical fruit profile.