We are so in love with this coffee! Every so often, a coffee comes along that completely blows us away and this is one of those. Looking for the best example around of that wonderful tea-like, floral Ethiopian coffee? Look no further, seriously. In the cup you can expect huge jasmine and bergamot notes. Sitting alongside the dreamy florals is a delicious apricot note and some seriously classy acidity. It's a bold claim but I'm struggling to remember washed Ethiopian coffee as good as this.
Challa cooperative was established in 2004 by an initial 25 farmer members from the Agaro town in the Jimma Zone, Oromia, Western Ethiopia. The founder members formed the group in order to foster unity and to share in addressing issues they were facing around finding good buyers for their coffee, eleviating debt and improving standards of production. Jimma is an area that had become synonymous with 'Jimma 5' - low quality natural processed commercial type coffee that fetches minimal prices on the internal and international market. The name Nano Challa in Oromifa means "the area above", a reference to their prime coffee growing location at high altitudes, benefittingfrom beautiful naturalforest and rich organic soils.
Nano Challa's fortunes were boosted in 2010, when they were chosen to be part of the Technoserve Coffee Initiative alongside other remote farming communities in Jimma, which was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Technoserve provided technical assistance and training to producer groups, and helps coordinate agronomists and business advisors to help improve coffee quality, assist in the management of debt, reinvestment and the fair distribution of funds to each coop member. The impact of the initiative was huge, as it helped coops like Nano Challa transition from natural processing to washed, via the building of washing stations. In fact, Nano Challa was one of the first washing stations to be built in the area under the guidance of Technoserve, along with Yukro and Duromina.
Since 2010, Nano Challa's membership has risen to over 400 and the quality improvements initiated alongside Technoserve have seen the coop's coffees become some of the finest, most sough after in the whole of the country. This has led to radically improving the livelihoods of farmers and their families in the region.