Tatmara Natural 165,-
I am very excited to announce our first coffee from a single producer in Ethiopia since the famous Olke Birre coffee we had a few years ago. What is different now is that this time the coffee is from a different area and also from a bigger farm and hopefully we will be able to buy coffee from Negussie in the many years to come. Ethiopia opened up for smaller farmers to sell coffee directly to Roasters last year so I immediately contacted the French import company Belco, to see if they could help me get in touch with some farmers I could possibly start working with and buy coffee from. After a week of traveling in the areas of Jimma and Kaffa there were a few farms that stood out for me and one of them was the Tatmara Coffee Plantation and farmer Negussie Tadesse. Negussie was already separating his coffees by variety but was only producing natural processed coffees due to not having infrastructure to wash coffees yet. He had a very open mind and wanted to work with quality so I decided to at least get started by buying some natural processed coffees and then see if we can support him in building a wet mill for washing coffees in the future. We agreed upon a protocol on how to produce 80 bags of high quality natural processed coffees for us (this is not so easy as it seems) and I was surprised on how good they turned out. Normally I am not the biggest fan of natural processed coffees as they are difficult to produce well and often have taints of over ripe fruit due to uncontrolled fermentation within each coffee cherry during drying and also a peanutty flavour from uneven ripeness of the cherries. Negussie made sure he only dried the coffees in really thin layers and also only with the fully ripe cherries for us and the results are really tasty. In fact I liked them so much that we might just continue focusing on buying his naturals. We will see…
For me these coffees still have hints of flavours from fermentation but they are pleasant like fresh peach, fresh ripe strawberry and floral. As the coffee cools it does not turn to an unpleasant over ripe fruity note like a lot of naturals in the market, but it keeps its vibrancy and cleanliness. It makes these coffees really great for making iced coffee as well.
We have separated and bought two different cultivars from this farm named 74110 and 74112. Both cultivars are selections made by the Jimma Agricultural Research Center and although they have very similar qualities, there are some subtle nuances in the flavour profile.
Peach, Strawberries & floral
Dakiti, Kaffa, Ethiopia
1900 - 2000 masl. Under canopy of native forest trees.
Ripe coffee cherries are picked by local pickers. The cherries are then dried in a thin layer on raised beds where the cherries are constantly moved the first days to make sure they do not over ferment. All over ripe and slight under ripe cherries are removed by hand during drying. Once the cherries are finished drying, they are de-hulled before the coffee beans are transported to the mill where they get cleaned and sorted before packaging for export. The coffee was packed, exported and stored in jute bags with a grain pro bag liner.
The Tatmara Coffee Plantation is situated near Bonga, the capitol city of Kaffa in Ethiopia. Kaffa is by many considered the birthplace of coffee mainly because Arabica coffee is found growing wild in the surrounding forests and therefore has been cultivated by the locals for centuries. Negussie Tadesse is the owner of the farm and bought the land and started farming coffee in 2010. However he grew up on the land and have his own roots fromt he area . After working for the Ethiopian foreign ministry in Israel for a while and seeing how agriculture was doen in Israel, Negussei returned to Ethiopia determined to become a professional coffee farmer. Negussie has already constructed a new warehouse on the farm and is in the process of building a small house to stay in and also a dry mill as well as more drying beds. Constructing a wet mill for washing coffees is also in the plans for the future
The 80 hectare farm is basically a native forest, yet there has been some cutting of trees over time by locals to be used as firewood. Still the majority of the farm is covered with native forest trees and fauna. Apart from soem small scale honey production, there is wild cardamom, long pepper and fruits growing among the coffee, which also attracts wild animals such as baboons and pigs who also eat coffee cherries and can break the coffee trees. For this reason Negussie is considering planting more fruit on the farm to distract the animals from eating the coffee cherries.
Negussie is not using any agricultural inputs or agrochemicals. The only work he is doing on the farm is to cut weeds manually in order to control the weeds and also make cover for the ground (mulch) to prevent the soil from drying out. He is also pruning the coffee trees and renewing some of the old coffee trees that were already planted on the farm before he purchased the land. Due to the native forest canopy the soil is really rich in organic material and microorganisms which help feed the coffee plants. This is most likely part of the reasons why this farm is able to produce very high quality coffees. In addition the good cultivars, shade cover and ideal climatic growing conditions help create unique coffees that in our opinion is unmatched outside of Ethiopia. There is no use of mineral fertilisers on the farm and Negussie is working on getting his farm Organic certified within the next years.
So far Mr. Tadesse has been planting coffee on about half of his land that is a total area of 80 hectares. He has planted four different cultivars on the farm but only the 74110 and 74112 are in production. In the coming years he is expecting to have a bit of production from his Wush Wush cultivar and 74148 cultivar.
The numbered cultivars are selections made by the Jimma Agricultural Research Center. The 74110 and 74112 were selected in the Bishari village of the Metu province in the Illubabora zone. They are resistant to coffee berry disease and both have a high cup quality. They are therefore among the most common cultivars planted in the Ethiopia since they were released in 1979.