Producer: Mustefa Abakeno
Harvest: March – May
Notes: Blueberry, nectarine, lime
Ethiopia is an extraordinary and complex origin of coffee, the most genetically complex of all. It is so important to Ethiopia that it alone supports the trade balance of a country with more than 100 million people. It is the main source of foreign currency income, and is estimated that 15 million people depend directly on coffee production to survive. About 90% of coffee is still grown by smallholder farmers, who deliver their coffee cherries to nearby washing stations for processing.
Known as the cradle of coffee, Ethiopia is home to the only place where has grown natively, worldwide. Heirloom varieties are coffee plants that grow indigenously and there are thousands of varieties grown under the shade canopy. Thanks to high altitudes, coupled with ideal amounts of rain, rich biodiversity and nutritious soils, Ethiopia’s coffees offer up a kaleidoscope of flavour potential.
Living in the fertile western highlands, Mustefa Abakeno is a smallholder producer with 18 hectares of land near Agaro in the Jimma Zone of Western Ethiopia. His farm is located at 2,040masl and is planted with coffee varieties from the Jimma Agricultural Research Centre.
Mustefa only registered as an exporter in 2018 so that he could sell his coffee directly to buyers. He set up a small wet mill (called Beshasha) to process his own and his neighbour’s coffees, which he keeps separate and dries on raised beds near his house.
In 2020, Mustefa acquired a second washing station, Kabira, to receive cherries from local producers. Due to the subtle differences in location and microclimate, Beshasha is now almost exclusively processes washed lots, while Kabira, which has more space for drying beds, is more suited to processing naturals. Supported by our partners at Falcon Specialty, Mr Abakeno received agronomic training in good cherry selection, washing, drying and agricultural practices. This includes installing shade netting to cover drying beds during the hottest hours of the day; fermentation times, keeping lots separate, and monitoring moisture content throughout the drying phase, ensuring even drying before the lots are assembled for the dry mill.
We are a big fans of Ethiopian naturals and absolutely loved this lot #7 from Mustefa for its vibrant flavours. This wonderful coffee is roasted gently and lightly for filter so that we can preserve the complexity in the cup. Refreshing notes of nectarine and zesty lime are complemented by a balanced, clean cup with a winey acidity.