The Deri Kocha washing station is aptly named after the adjacent river that runs through the SNNP. The coffee in Ethiopia grows wild and there are probably several hundred sub-varieties being grown in Guji alone, hence the “heirloom” description.
Managed by Mr Surafel Berhanu, Deri Kocha receives coffee from over 700 local smallholders who handpick and deliver ripe red cherries. The average size of a coffee farm in Ethiopia is less than 2 hectares, and the local smallholders usually have less than a hundred or so trees. It is typical for the compost to be organic, and the coffee is grown in a sporadic forest fashion with trees rarely pruned. In Ethiopia, one coffee tree typically produces cherries equal to less than 80 – 170 grams of roasted coffee.
The cherries are weighed on arrival at the washing station, and a premium is paid to farmers who deliver whole ripe red cherries.
The coffee is dried in the sun on raised African beds for approximately 12 – 15 days. In the daytime, they are raked and turned periodically to ensure a consistent drying process. The cherries are covered between 12pm and 3pm to protect them from sun damage and at night time to protect it from rainfall and moisture. Once the coffee has dried to the right level it is milled, graded, sorted and thoroughly handpicked, before being bagged in GrainPro for export from the port of Djibouti.