Farm (Farmer): Tesfaye Bekele
Altitude: 1800 - 2200 m.a.s.l.
Variety: Kurume, Welicho
Flavor profile: tangerine, jasmine, chocolate
Coffee is mainly processed using washed and dry methods (natural). Wet method fermentation takes around 36 to 72 hours depending on the weather. The coffee is then dried in the sun on African beds for approximately 9 to 13 days. There are currently around 200 coffee drying beds on the farm. With the dry method, the coffee dries longer because the pulp has to dry as well, and drying takes around 21 to 27 days. We have been buying coffee from the Suke Quto farm for 6 years. The quality of the coffees is high and despite the fact that we receive a large number of samples from other growers, we always choose coffees from this farm.
Our first contact with owner Tesfay Bekele was at a cupping in Amsterdam. The quality of the coffees is high and despite the fact that we receive a large number of samples from other growers, we always choose coffees from this farm...
The Oromo people of Guji consider their region to be the ancestral cradle of Oromo culture. Ceremonies, rituals and traditions that are based on the Gada age group system are still widely practiced among the people of Guji.
Suke Quto Farm was established in 2005 with the idea of establishing a farm where organic coffee will be grown in the shade of the surrounding trees. Originally the farm had 5 ha, today its area is already 221 ha. When a forest fire destroyed most of the surrounding forest a few years ago, local farmers started planting corn and the grain teff (or Abyssinian millet, which is the tiniest grain in the world and suitable for celiacs). The disadvantage of these crops is that they cause soil erosion, leaving the land barren and depleted after a few years. Tesfaye came up with another idea to plant coffee trees and trees to provide shade. Today, over 150 farmers help him build these organic "coffee forests", who then import their crops to Suke Quto's farm for processing. Tesfaye Bekele is one of the people who have significantly helped the development of selective coffee cultivation in Guji. Since the region was dominated by cattle farmers until then, he looked for new ways to make coffee popular among farmers. He began working in the field of natural resource and environmental protection for the government of Ethiopia. He was responsible for the Guji and Borena zone. From 1997 to 1999, the Guji area was hit by large fires that destroyed 5,000 acres of forest. The company was heavily involved in the restoration of vegetation. After the fires, local residents returned to the land and started growing teff again, which was destroying the soil. Tesfaye realized that he could not prevent people from returning to these deforested lands to rebuild their livelihoods. He needed to give people an alternative. "I came up with the idea of replanting forests and coffee trees to increase diversity." The local community agreed with my proposal and asked me to provide coffee seedlings. “ Suke Quto Farm distributed large quantities of coffee seedlings to smallholders. Despite the initial disbelief and impatience of the results, coffee cultivation in this region was developed to its present dimensions. Tesfaye helps the local community with the organization of fresh water supplies and helps build a local school for children who do not have access to education in the area.
Suke Quto Farm is spread over the high lands and valleys of Odo Shakisso woreda. The volcanic soil located on the farm is very fertile. Tesfaye keeps the soil in good condition by organic recycling through garbage, coffee root residues and shade trees. Suke Quto coffees are certified Organic and Rainforest Alliance. The company works with 171 small farmers who import cherries to the Suke Quto processing plant. In addition to partnering with these growers, the farm owns an additional 221 hectares in the Guji highlands. 200 seasonal workers are employed here during the harvest period to collect and process coffee.
Heirloom is a designation for original Ethiopian varieties. This designation is used to denote native varieties, many of which are still found in the wild. Kurume and Welicho are coffee plants of the arabica genus and belong to the original varieties in Ethiopia. The coffee from these coffee plants has the characteristic flavors of the region. It is slightly sour, juicy and beautifully floral. Tastes vary only slightly depending on the growing region. Currently, it is estimated that there are approximately 10,000 original varieties in Ethiopia that have not yet been genetically identified. Coffee varieties in Ethiopia are researched and developed by the Jimma Agricultural Research Center (JARC). Here, important attributes of individual varieties are examined, such as the plant's resistance to pests and diseases or its yield.
Coffee harvesting is traditional and done by hand. Next, the coffee travels to Suke Quto's own processing station. Cherries intended for dry processing are dried on African beds. There are currently around 200 coffee drying beds on the farm. With the dry method, the coffee dries longer because the pulp has to dry as well, and drying takes around 21 to 27 days. All the while, the cherries must be regularly aerated to prevent unwanted fermentation or the development of mold.
The coffees from the Suke Quto farm are very complex and have a characteristic profile for this area (Guji). They are suitable for preparing filtered coffee as well as espresso. It is up to you which roasting profile you choose. In both of these ways, its beautiful floral aroma of jasmine, lower acidity and sweetness of tangerines are developed.