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Ethiopia Werka Natural
Ethiopia Werka Natural
Ethiopia Werka Natural
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Ethiopia Werka Natural

Bright & Lively

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1 bag | 12 oz.

Intensely rich and sweet, with blueberry jam sweetness and ripe blackberry freshness, this natural processed coffee from West Arsi is a stunner. This coffee reveals its hibiscus florality as it cools with a pleasant cocoa nib bitterness helping to bring complexity to the cup.

Tasting notes of   

Blueberry Jam, Cocoa Nibs, Blackberry, & Hibiscus

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cup

Roast Schedule

Tuesday

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Roast Level

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cup

Taste Type

Bright & Lively

The Details

country
Ethiopia
producer
750 small holders
region
West Arsi, Oromia
elevation
1900 - 2000 masl
variety
Welisho
processing
Natural
harvest
November 2020 - January 2021
certification
N/A
Ethiopia Werka Natural

About this coffee

Werka (pronounced 'wer-kah') is a privately-owned washing station located in the Nensebo ‘woreda’ (administrative district) in the West Arsi locality in Ethiopia’s renowned coffee region, Sidama, in the south-east of the country. It is named after the ‘kebele’ (local village) of Werka. The washing station is one of ten owned and managed by Testi Coffee, a family-owned company founded by Mr Faysel A. Yonis. Werka produces both washed and natural coffees.

Coffee is delivered daily to Werka by around 750 small local coffee growers. The majority of these families farm organically on tiny plots of land, which average just 2–5 hectares in size. Coffee is their main cash crop and grows alongside food crops of corn, grain and bananas, under the shade of native Birbira, Wanza, and Acacia trees. The average elevation of the farms in this region is very high – around 1,900–2,050m above sea level – and this, combined region’s cool temperatures, is ideal for the slow ripening of coffee cherries, leading to denser beans and a sweeter, more complex cup profile.

This coffee lot was produced as part of Testi’s quality improvement initiative, Premium Cherry Selection (PCS). Launched in 2018, the Premium Cherry Selection program ensures that best practices are used for growing, harvesting and processing the coffee cherry. Through the program, Testi pay a premium to farmers who pick and deliver only the ripest cherries from their farms. Coffees produced as part of the program represent the highest quality and cleanest cup profile available from the washing station and wider region.

When we imagine what the quintessential Bright & Lively cup profile is, we often picture a coffee like this: sweet, fruity, complex, and delicious down to the very last sip.

Variety

For many years, most Ethiopian coffee has only been described as being a mix of varieties that we refer to as 'heirloom varieties.' This is a term that is all-encompassing and used by many actors in the coffee industry to generally categorise Ethiopian coffee varieties that are from native forest origins. Whilst this describes many of the varieties found in Ethiopia, it is also a bit simplistic and does not acknowledge the varieties that are already locally recognised and cultivated, or those that have been specifically developed and widely distributed by the Jimma Agricultural Research Centre (JARC).

This coffee is made up of one of those locally recognised native varieties, Welisho (or Walichu). Ethiopia is home to many native or “landrace” varieties in the region that were originally selected from the forest and have been propagated in the Sidama region for decades. There are five popular ones that all have been named after indigenous trees in the area—they are Bedessa, Kudhumi, Mique, Sawe and Walichu. There is little documentation on the history of these varieties, and it is hard to know if they represent single varieties or a wider group of varieties, however, it is widely accepted that they play a major role in the quality of the coffee from this region, with a distinctive floral and citric cup profile. Along with these, JARC varieties are grown for disease and pest resistance, rather than only for cup profile, and are released by number. For example, 74110, 74112 and 74116 are all widely propagated in the Sidama growing region.

Processing

This coffee was processed using the natural method; a complex process requiring a high level of attention to detail in order to be done well. Ethiopian coffee has been processed this way by generations of farmers who have mastered the art of the natural method through centuries of tradition and experience.

Testi Coffee ensures that a great deal of care is taken in the processing and drying of their naturals, and they aim for all of their exportable coffee to be specialty quality grade. This coffee is classified as Grade 1, indicating that a lot of effort has been put into the selection, grading and drying to ensure the very highest quality coffee is produced.

Each day, carefully hand-picked coffee cherries are delivered to the wet mill and are meticulously hand-sorted prior to processing to remove unripe, overripe, or damaged fruit, in order to enhance the quality and sweetness of the cup.

The coffee is then graded by weight and spread evenly on raised African beds (screens) to dry in the sun. Initially, it is laid very thinly and turned regularly to ensure consistent drying and prevent over-fermentation. This is done very carefully to avoid damage to the fruit.

After a few days, when the coffee has reached 25% humidity—this is called the “raisin stage”—the layers of coffee are gradually increased. Careful attention and control during this drying phase ensures the coffee is stable and that a clean and balanced cup profile is achieved. The coffee is turned constantly whilst drying to ensure that it dries evenly and consistently. At midday, the coffee is covered to protect it from full sun. It is also covered overnight to prevent damage from morning dew.

Once the coffee reaches the optimum moisture level (usually after 15–18 days), it is hulled and rested in bags in parchment until it is ready for export.

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