This Chelbesa is the second of two sites that exporting company, SNAP Coffee, owns in the area. Chelbesa 2 is located at 2300 masl, a twenty minute motorcycle ride from Chelbesa 1. This specific station gets most of its cherries from the surrounding hills, and farmers often walk for up to two hours to deliver their cherries to the station. 

When Alexander, the manager of Tropiq Ethiopia, visited early in the season, farmers were waiting to harvest their cherries, even though red cherries were appearing on their trees. Their reasoning was that God would let them know when was the exact right time to begin harvesting. They also mentioned waiting until all the cherries on the trees were red, sweet and ready to be picked. 

”I tasted a cherry from our farmer friend Daiaso Baraco, and it was incredible. I have rarely tasted a cherry that was like drinking mango juice. Call me crazy, but cupping the first out turns blind, I did spot mango, peach, orange blossom in the cup. Incredibly complex and consistent”, says Alex. 

Danche is a washing station located in Chelbesa, Gedo. They buy cherries from 313 farmers who produce good yields thanks to fertile soil and good farming methods. This washing station has organic certification.
Origin name: Chelbesa
Washing station name: Danche
Type (association/ mill /coop/ farm): washing station
Founded: 2019
Altitude: 2000-2300 masl
Region: Gedeo
Sub Region: Gedeb
Number of farms: 313
Farm size: 1-2 hectares
Certifications: Organic

SNAP Coffee was established in Addis Ababa in 2008, by coffee-passionate entrepreneur, Negusse D. Weldyes. The company runs three coffee washing and processing stations in Chelelektu, Kochere District of the Gedeo Zone and partnering washing stations in Uraga (Guji) and Nensebo (West Arsi). On average, about 550 farmers supply each washing station.

The company’s supply policy rests on three main pillars:
  1. Process specialty coffee consistently;
  2. Transfer the required know-how to the outgrowing farmers along with a great desire and training in processing and cleaning methods;
  3. Protect the environment through waste recycling systems.
SNAP Coffee is a business group engaged in other activities as well. They have an electronics assembly business and a software development company. They began their speciality coffee export business after the ECX reformed regulations to make it easier for companies to export coffee in 2017.The company currently exports about 78 containers per year. They employ around 253 employees, of which 13 are in their speciality coffee exporting business.

SNAP Coffee’s relationship with Tropiq began quite recently. “We are quite at ease because of Tropiq’s efficiency in communication, and even more on logistics facilitation,” Abenezer, SNAP Coffee Supply Chain Manager said. He also reports that Tropiq’s regular and timely feedback on coffee lots have given SNAP Coffee a lot of insight which helps them supply consistently great coffee.
Vegetation: Semi-forest
Average lot size of farmers: 1-2 hectares
Soil type: Rich and fertile red soil
Number of trees per hectare: 1800-2400
How much cherries per tree on average: 3 kgs
Average selling price of farmers per kilo of cherries for 2019/2020 harvest year: $0.8/25 birr
Harvest and cherry selection Cherries are collected manually and hand sorted later.
Pulping and pre-grading The cherries are pulped by a traditional Agaarde Discpulper. Skin and fruit pulp are removed before the machine grades the parchment in water as 1st or 2nd quality, determined by density.
Fermentation The parchment is fermented in water for 72 hours.
Washing and grading in channels Coffees are washed in channels, and graded in water by density. The lower density (lower quality) will float and are removed, leaving only the denser and therefore higher quality beans which are separated as higher grade lots.    
Soaked under clean water Parchment is then soaked in tanks in clean water for 2-4 hours before it is moved to the drying tables.
Drying and hand-sorting Coffee is then piled up in layers which are 2cm in height and dried over a 10 day period then followed by hand sorting for 2-4 hours.
Warehousing at the washing station After drying the coffees will be packed in jute bags and stored in the local warehouse onsite, separated by process and grade. Lot sizes can vary from 100 – 300 bags. This process helps condition the coffee and achieve a more uniform humidity. They will normally be stored 1-2 months before they are moved. In some cases the parchment will be hand-sorted in the warehouse.
Transport and logistics After the harvest season is over the coffees are moved to warehouses and dry mills in Addis. Trucking is expensive in Ethiopia. The coffee trucks must pass a local ECX checkpoint where its contents are graded and registered as an exportable product, before it continues to Addis Ababa.   
Warehousing and dry milling The coffee will sit in parchment in a warehouse in Addis. This is when our team will go to the warehouse and collect the samples from the specific stock lots. It remains in parchment until it is contracted and the destination for shipment is confirmed.
Tropiq Lab and quality control Our team on the ground in Addis personally collect samples which we cup and grade, and measure humidity and water activity. When the specific lot is selected for purchase we register the contract with a shipping destination and approve it for milling and shipment. We are present at the dry mill during processing, grading and bagging, and we immediately take a PSS sample for approval.      
Container stuffing and transport We generally try to get our containers stuffed in Addis at the dry mills and moved to the port and straight on a vessel in Djibouti. This way we reduce the risk of delays or mistakes at port that frequently happen when moving coffee by truck for stuffing in Djibouti.
SNAP Coffee supports the community of smallholders living near the washing station through partnerships with washing station owners. The washing stations build schools and SNAP Coffee provides computers and other facilities. Other projects in the works include a road to connect less accessible farming areas to the washing station and health clinics to improve access to healthcare for farmers in the washing station areas.
There is a lot of coffee in Ethiopia, and many good lots, but things are not always as straightforward as they seem. What you cup is not always what you get. With most washing stations, this really depends on the relationship to the suppliers, at what stage you draw the sample and the local warehousing and dry milling facilities used.

Tropiq is a Nordic Approach company providing supply chain management services for transparent and traceable coffees direct from origin. Our team in Addis Ababa visit producers, washing stations and warehouses throughout the season. In the peak of the season we are daily in dialogue with the millers and exporters. Having people on the ground gives us early and direct access to samples, first-hand information on coffees, immediate entry to warehouses and timely quality control.