The Roastery & Cafe
COOP: WORKA SAKARO
LOCATION: WORKA CHELBESA, GEDIO, ETHIOPIA
ALTITUDE: 2000-2200 MASL
VARIETY: KUMIE, SIGA, AND WILSHO
PROCESS: ANAEROBIC NATURAL
Tasting Notes: Strawberry-Kiwi, Earl Grey, Cherry Blossom
Worka Sakaro Washing Sation is located in the Gedio Zone. The washing station works with over 400 smallholder farmers in the region and these farmers grow their coffee on the steep mountain slopes at approximately 2,000 to 2,200 meters above sea level. The coffee is grown in the shade of Birbira, Corsica Africana, and Ensete Ventricosum trees. The coffee is picked when the cherries are ripe and then dried on raised beds for 18 to 21 days. Once the coffee is dried it is then milled to remove the husks and stored in a local warehouse before being transported for final processing before shipment.
This lot from Worka Sakaro is a sundried, anaerobically fermented coffee. All coffee must go through some process that removes the seed (coffee bean!) from the fruit (cherry-like) it resides in. Then the isolated seed undergoes some period of fermentation before it is cleaned up, dried out, and packed into bags for shipping to folks like us! A washed coffee is typically depulped mechanically and washed with clean water. A natural coffee is typically left in its fruit during the fermentation and drying process before being depulped mechanically.
Coffee fermentation also has a broad spectrum of practices and styles. When we say coffee fermentation, we don’t mean fermentation like wine, beer, bread, or kimchi. At a base level, fermentation is simply the act of yeasts and bacteria metabolizing sugars and other organic compounds and leaving behind ethanol and vibrant acids. When it comes to coffee, we usually see two primary categories of fermentation: Aerobic and Anaerobic. Aerobic fermentation, meaning with oxygen, is quite simple but complex to oversee and monitor. Due to the high concentration of complex sugars and microorganisms, recently picked cherries are contained in an open tank or vat and left to ferment for a particular amount of time (typically between 12-72 hours). Anaerobic fermentation, meaning without oxygen, follows much of the same protocol, but the cherries (whether depulped or otherwise) are covered in water and sealed during their stay in fermentation-station. This offers a controlled environment and provides a fermentation that heightens perceived sweetness and acidity in intense ways.
The result of the anaerobic fermentation on this lot from Worka Sakaro is a bright, floral, candy-sweet coffee that boasts of fresh red fruits, delicate tea, and a last florality that seemingly lingers forever.