This is a top grade, super fresh arrival (first new crop Ethiopian of the season) coming from Chelelektu wetmill in Kochere disctrict, Gedeo zone. The mill processes cherries from around 650 local smallholder farmers. Farmers typically cultivate less than 2 hectares of land and farms at elevations ranging between 1,900 and 2,100m, one of the highest altitude coffee terroirs in the world.
The town of Chelelektu is in Kochere district (not far from Yirgacheffe town) in Gedeo zone, ‘Southern Nations, Nationalities & Peoples’ (SNNP) region of Ethiopia. It is among the highest altitude towns in the region. Over a number of years the region has developed a distinguished reputation for fine coffees, producing some of the most sought-after microlots in world. The combination of high altitude (up to 2,200m in some areas), fertile soil, consistent & plentiful rains, and an abundance of local knowledge are all contributing factors to the high status of Yirgacheffe coffees. The indigenous ‘heirloom’ varietals – which grow wild in Ethiopia – are responsible for the unique flavor notes which make for an unusual but refined cup, characterized by strong citric acidity, sweet chocolate and floral/herbal notes of lavender, jasmine, bergamot and hops.
Tasting Notes: A great first new crop arrival for 2020. Very crisp, clean and exotic. Great aromatics filled with jasmine spice and soft fruit. Lighter roasts are filled with new crop acidity and floral notes, mostly citric but a little soft fruit tone can be found. The balance of the cup comes from a semi-tea-like chocolate factor. I tend to think of it as chocolate spice notes but many tongues can pick up a little black tea note. Medium roasts still have a bit of citric acidic, build a good body and bring forth more of the chocolate spice note, reducing the acidity slightly so even more of the exotic tones of this cup can be found. Darker roasts are always tasty for those who like fuller roasts. This is how they would traditionally serve these beans in Ethiopia. Almost a shame, for it loses the cool spice and lighter note balance, but will still make for a good exotic smoky and chocolaty cup.
Roasting Notes: Easy to roast, very clean coffee, even roasting with medium to low chaff. Lighter roasts will have some decent acidity but can provide a wonderfully exotic cup. Will look one shade darker than it really is in the roaster, similar to many African coffees. I like to watch the splotchy-ness of each bean to mark the roast level. As the beans fade to even brown, this marks a strong medium roast. A light roast should be semi-splotchy. Dark roasts are still marked by hints of oil on the surface.
The Chelelektu washing station was built in 2010 and processes up to 950,000kg of ripe coffee cherries each year from its 363 contributing producers. Since 2014, the washing station has improved its infrastructure and processes coffee with fresh, clean water with a ph of 8.5. Coffees are dried on 134 raised beds in the sun across the washing stations almost 3 hectares of land. There are 12 fermentation tanks for soaking washed coffees, which then take around 18 days to dry.
Chelelektu farmers are small-scale growers who bring their ripe cherries to the Chelelektu washing station for processing. Farmers around Chelelektu have trees at elevations ranging from 1300-2200 meters above sea level, making it one of the most altitudinally diverse washing stations in Yirgacheffe. The small springs and streams that make up the water for fermentation and leave the cherries perfectly fermented in around 37 hours. The reaction of Chelelektu’s water with the heirloom varietals grown there leaves the fermenting coffee a brilliant red color that is characteristic of this micro-region.
The Chelelektu washing station is named for its location in Chelelektu, the town–known as a kebele–in the Kochere district of the broader Yirgacheffe coffee area.
Chelelektu coffee is prepped for export at Tracon Trading’s coffee cleaning and storage plant on 30,000 sq meters of land in Addis Ababa. The plant is equipped with modern Pinhalense coffee processing machines and a Buhler Z+ color sorter. The machine has the capacity of processing six tons per hour. All the processing jobs are mechanical and electronic including final hand picking on conveyor belts. The six storage silos of the plant have a capacity of accommodating about 15,000 metric tons of coffee at a time. The warehouses are clean, with ample lighting and ventilation, which are very ideal for keeping the quality of the coffee.