The Roastery & Cafe
COMMUNITY: NANO CHALLA
LOCATION: AGARO GERA, JIMMA, ETHIOPIA
ALTITUDE: 1900-2200 MASL
VARIETY: ETHIOPIAN LANDRACES
Tasting Notes: Papaya, Green Tea, Key Lime
In 2009 coffees from the Yukro, Duromina, and Nano Challa cooperatives were flowing into the marketplace undifferentiated and undervalued. Aided by USAID’s Technoserve project, these co-ops began to thrive, expanding their membership and invigorating the perception of coffees from western Ethiopia. In 2017, Kolla Bolcha, a newer cooperative neighboring the Biftu Gudina cooperative, also joined the Agaro family. All of these co-ops live under the umbrella of the Kata Muduga cooperative union, whose leadership makes all these coffees possible.
The members of Nano Challa have historically produced one of the most, if not the most, coveted coffees in all of Western Ethiopia. Doing such a great job with production and process has led to receiving tremendous premiums, swelling membership to a level that pushed their capacity as far as it could go. In 2019, they opened a new facility, Nano Genji, a few miles away with brand new equipment and dozens of drying beds to accommodate this growing membership.
You’ll notice this coffee does not have a particular variety associated with it. Ethiopia is arguably the most fascinating coffee growing country, as it’s the birthplace of coffee and home to more unique regional varieties than anywhere else in the world. Until recently, many coffee importers and roasters referred to these as “heirloom varieties.” Thanks to the work of Tim Hill and Getu Bekele, the coffee community at large now has a more educated and robust vocabulary to talk about Ethiopian coffees. We now choose to call these varietals “landraces,” as World Coffee Research defines as “a domesticated, locally adapted, traditional variety of a species of animal or plant that has developed over time, through adaptation to its natural and cultural environment of agriculture and pastoralism, and due to isolation from other populations of the species.”
This is a wildly complex coffee but Nano Challa Lot #4 still presents itself as easily drinkable. It has a ripe-melon-like fruit character that we associate with papaya or over-ripe honeydew melon. A light, but coating body and florality that reminds us of loose-leaf green tea, and a distinct bright lime flavor on the finish. This offering captures the heart of western Ethiopia.