Our first Ethiopian of the year comes from the famous Reko washing station, located in the Yirgacheffe region of Southern Ethiopia. Bright, delicate and complex; this classic Yirgacheffe is best suited to pour over filter methods.
Set on the namesake mountain, Reko washing station acts as a service point for the local smallholders they buy cherry from. With upwards of 800 farmers harvesting very small areas, and lacking the infrastructure to process this, the washing station is structured to select, separate and control all post-harvest processing. The greater collective input increases the production volume and quality, also leading to better prices for the community.
Reko washing station is privately owned by Masreshu Sima and has spent many years moving towards traceability of their supply chain. Recent political changes now allow for these coffees to eschew the standard ECX auction platform and be sold directly to trusted export partners. With training and education at the forefront of the Reko mission, a more transparent supply network comes full-circle with more specific feedback leading to tastier coffee each year.
The Yirgacheffe region has almost always been synonymous with intensely floral and elegant cup profiles. The local heirloom varieties are descendant from native Typica found in the surrounding forests and the washed processing here is so rigorously controlled that the intensity and clarity of flavour is certainly no surprise. All cherries are hand picked and hand sorted before being mechanically pulped and de-mucilaged at the Reko wet mill. The coffee, still in its parchment form, is then soaked in washing channels for 36-48 hours to further remove mucilage and grade by density. From here the coffee is moved to raised beds and dried for 10-15 days.
With this controlled washing process it is no surprise that coffees from Yirgacheffe often set the standard for complexity. Apricot, chamomile and grapefruit were just the start of the many citrus and floral descriptors from our roasting team.