We're always looking for a standout coffee from Ethiopia. And this one is a banger!
The WORKA Cooperative was established in 2005 and joined the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (YCFCU) the same year. There are 305 member farmers who cultivate coffee on 762 hectares in the WORKA cooperative, which is located in Gedeb within the Gedeo Zone. YCFCU currently has 24 member coops with each primary cooperative electing their own governing committee and professional farm managers. The governing committees make decisions about investing in new equipment purchases, scheduling tree maintenance, and how to structure payments to the cooperative members. The professional managers for each primary cooperative oversee the harvest and processing procedures and are accountable to the coop’s members and other committees.
Aside from its near-legendary status as the "birthplace" of Arabica coffee, there is much to love about Ethiopia as a producing nation, including but not limited to the incredible diversity of flavor and character that exists among microregions, specifically within the southwestern Gedeo Zone of Yirgacheffe within the region of Sidama—areas whose names alone conjure thoughts of the finest coffees in the world. Coffee was literally made to thrive in the lush environment Yirgacheffe’s forests provide, developing nuanced floral characteristics, articulate sweetness and sparkling acidity. However, coffee has also adapted to the more arid climate of Harrar, in the northeast of the country; The varieties planted there have historically had more chocolatey, rich undertones.
Processing, of course, also plays a significant part in what makes Ethiopian coffees distinct—both distinctly Ethiopian, as well as distinct from one another, Washed or Natural.
Until recently, coffee grown by smallholders and co-ops in Ethiopia were required to be sold through the ECX, where lots were classified by general region, quality (Grade 1–5), and escaped of most of their traceability. In March of 2017, the prime minister of Ethiopia approved a reform allowing cooperatively owned washing stations to export their coffee directly, which allows for separation of top coffee lots, higher prices for farmers, and increased recognition for the best quality coffees in Ethiopia.
Greater traceability allows us to buy more directly from the same washing stations year in and year out, and opens the potential for partnerships on a more micro level, with individual farmers or smaller groups within a community, to select out special lots.
Cafe Imports is proud to offer a variety of Ethiopian coffees—an inventory not simply diverse in flavor, but that also represents the various relationships and buying practices that exist within coffee's native region.