Our Washed Yirgacheffe Grade 1 Haru comes from smallholder farmers in the villages of Haru in the Gedeo Zone of the Yirgacheffe District. Farmers deliver carefully-selected ripe cherries which are depulped with a disc pulper, wet fermented, graded and soaked in clean water before they are carefully dried on raised beds. 

The owner of the mill is Fikadu Abayneh and Haru is the name of the small village where the washing station is located. The local manager is Gabayo Makunin, a man with decades of experience in coffee. The washing station is relatively small but so beautiful: tidy and well organised. They have constructed a roof over the fermentation tanks for more controlled fermentation, and they are experimenting and looking at ways to improve their drying. 

Origin name: Haru

Site name: Haru Washing Station 

Type:(association/ mill /coop/ farm): Washing Station

Founded: 2013

Region: Gedeo

Sub Region: Yirgacheffe

Farm Size: 1-2 Hectares

Number of trees per hectare: 1500 per hectare

Kanketi is a family business based in Yirgacheffe. The family still live in Yirgacheffe Town, and in addition to managing coffee farms and washing stations, they also run the gas station in town. 

Another point worth mentioning is the advisory work provided by members of the washing station. Fikadu and Tsedenia are siblings. Together, they took over the coffee business from their parents. For 30 years, coffee has been the passion of his family. Fikadu emphasize also the communication between their members and the washing station, advising smallholders about improvements in the field. 

Kanketi used to own several washing stations which produced good commercial grade coffee which they sold through the ECX. 

They have also invested heavily in infrastructure in order to improve the quality of the coffee, like renewing tanks for the new harvest and extending the number of dried tables. 

In addition to the washing stations, Kanketi owns an 85 hectare coffee farm in Foge.  

Fikadu Kanketi manages the production and quality control at the stations. He has been involved in the family business for a long time, but only began working full time for the company in 2015. Tsedenia studied marketing and worked for other companies before she joined Kanketi full time in 2017. She manages administration and customer relations, and divides her time between Addis and the family home in Yirgacheffe during the season.

Kanketi are also an exporter, and they are planning to build a guest house at Foge. 

Heirloom

Harvest and cherry selection Coffee cherries are harvested by family members, then hand-sorted to remove unripes and overripe cherries before they are delivered to the washing station for processing.
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 36-72 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 6-12 hours before it is moved to the drying tables.
Drying and hand-sorting Parchment is dried on raised beds in the sun for 12 – 15 days. The time depends on the thickness of the layers and temperatures. For the premium grades they will continuously sort the parchment at the drying tables. Coffees are piled up and covered in shade nets or plastic during the hottest hours of the day and overnight.

 

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.

 

There is no doubt Tsedenia and Fikadu care deeply about the smallholder farmers and the environment. They consider smallholders as their partners and do everything they can to increase farmer premiums like advising them on proper farm management. 

With the transition from commercial grade to specialty grade coffee at the Haru Washing Station, for example, the siblings hope to increase the income for the farmers by increasing their quality and yield. 

Their farm, Foge, is certified organic, and they have paid for certification of some medium sized partnering farms. They use organic farming methods, producing their own organic composted fertilizer. 

The coffee trees are interspersed with banana trees and bean plants which provide shade and increase the biodiversity of the farms.

 

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.  

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