Ethiopia - Wush Wush Village - Black Honey
This product is currently sold out.
Only 50 bags available!
We Taste: Candied Plum, Apple Butter, Orange Creamsicle, and Bergamot
Name of Site/Village: Wush Wush
Region: SNNPR Region
VARIETY: 75/210 and 74/212, smaller quantities of 74/110 and 74/165 and local Landrace varieties, naturally adapted from the Wush Wush variety
PROCESS: Black Honey
Elevation: 1850-1950 MASL
Following pulping, we ferment the parchment slated for Black Honey for a short period of time. Then the mucilage-heavy parchment is moved to shaded drying beds, where we keep it slowly drying entirely under a shade canopy with excellent airflow. The drying with shade adds 4 to 5 days overall drying time with this Black Honey, and affords us a stable distribution of moisture content throughout the cellular structure, along with a dialed in water activity. While shade drying gives just a little more control than full sun-drying, it can be a little tricky to cover the parchment at the right times. We find this strong uniformity in the drying of all the coffees is critical in a good honey process.
WHAT IS BEHIND THE COLOR NAMES?
Black, Red, and White Honey are so called due to the color of the parchment. Black Honey coffees carry characteristic black splotches from the heavy mucilage load. Red Honey coffees are also splotched, but less so than black and the splotches are more red than black. White Honey carries the least mucilage and is more yellow/white in hue over all.
Approximately 2500 smallholder farmers from the surrounding area bring their cherries to the washing station, where coffees are accepted or rejected based on quality and then sorted by hand before pulping. Like in most of Ethiopia, growers in the Ginbo district are smallholders, aka “garden farmers,” so called because most of them are producing coffee in the “garden” areas around their homes, and often harvesting cherries from coffee occurring naturally on the land where they live. Farm sizes tend to be between .5 to 2 hectares in size on average, though occasionally can reach upwards of 10 hectares. The average yearly yield in green coffee from the smaller farms is around 2 to 4 bags.
The washing station:
“GENALEM GEWYERO” – GOD IS GOOD! -
This is the motto which hangs on the entrance to Dinkalem’s dry mill, across the road from the Wush Wush washing station.
Dinkalem’s washing station is one of the most cheerful we get to visit each year, with smiling faces all around, clean facilities, and a well-organized production flow. Dinkalem himself is a short, cheerful man who’s proud of all he’s accomplished in partnership with his wife, Sofia, for the area. Together they are a kind of power couple: she organizes charitable work such as educational sessions for children and food distribution to disenfranchised Keffa people, and he runs the coffee business in two locations (one in Wush Wush and one in Dinbira for washed and natural processed).
They live in the town of Wush Wush in a rambling house that seems mostly hallways and surprising corners. Sofia is known for her kirkele, or lamb stew, which is the best we’ve ever tasted—it’s all savory chunks of stewed lamb so tender it drips off the spoon, gleaming fatty, buttery broth, and surprising layers of flavor that just keep revealing themselves on the tongue. They have 6 children, who love to play vigorous hide-and-seek with our daughter.
Dinkalem is proud to produce mostly very high-end coffee. His washing station in Wush Wush is 6 years old this season and sits on two hectares, with long drying beds stretching to the far reaches of the property, which is bordered by the glorious forests so characteristic of Kaffa. Dinkalem has a four-disk Agard pulper with two repasser disks, which receives regular maintenance. The nearby Agama River provides water for the serpentine channels at Dinkalem’s washing station; after coffees have been pulped, fermented, they are placed on the drying beds to reach optimal moisture content.
The drying beds are composed of plastic and wire mesh on local tree materials, and parchment is typically dried at a depth of approximately 2 cm. The workers at the washing station carefully stir, hand-pick defects, and cover the parchment multiple times a day depending on sun or rain. Once they’ve reached optimal moisture content, the parchment is moved to the storage shed which is clean and made from sheet metal as is customary in the area. Dinkalem religiously prohibits shoes, perfume, and any food or beverages in the storage shed. Once he’s ready to transport the coffee, Dinkalem loads it in trucks and takes it to the warehouse in nearby Bonga, where it is analyzed by officials and registered with a grade. At that point it is then trucked to Addis Ababa.
We’ve worked with Dinkalem’s coffee for 5 seasons now. Each year it delivers characteristic lush fruit and very sweet qualities.