What's in the hopper: Doyo Co-op, Ethiopia
Farm - Doyo Cooperative – approximately 430 small holder farmers
Location– Mana District, Jimma Zone of the- Oromia Region - Western Ethiopia
Preparation - Washed and sun-dried
Variety - Various heirloom coffees
Traditionally, coffees from Western Ethiopia were considered to be of a lower grade due to a lack of technical infrastructure in place which would result in a cleaner and more complex cup profile. Most of the coffee produced here was naturally processed as a result of poor access to washing stations in the area. However in 2008, TechnoServe (a non-profit organisation whose mission is to empower people in the developing world to build businesses that break the cycle of poverty) started to work in Oromia in an attempt to add value to the product farmers had to sell. Washing stations have been financed throughout the region and cooperative managers have been trained in production methods (e.g. meticulous sorting, well-managed drying etc) to focus on increasing the quality of the coffee produced there. The results have been unprecedented and the region is now producing coffees that can rival some of the best washed coffees from Sidamo and Harrar with incredible clarity and floral traits.
The Doyo cooperative is part of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (OCFCU) which brings together nearly 200 groups from the region, accounting for 65 per cent of the country’s total coffee growing area. The OCFCU is a small-holder cooperative union that represents close to a quarter of a million farmers. It was established in 1999 to allow the direct export of coffee produced by farmers who had organised themselves into cooperatives.
The Doyo Cooperative and washing station can be found near the city of Jimma and has nearly 430 active members and over a thousand semi-regular participants. Coffee is farmed here on areas that are usually smaller than half a hectare alongside other crops such as maize, teff and bananas. The abundance of heirloom varietals and altitudes over 2000 metres above sea level combine to develop deeply complex flavours in the cup, but these are not the only factors that contribute towards the production of this outstanding coffee. The washing station installed at the cooperative was a pioneering station in the area and allows the carefully handpicked coffee to be wet milled on site.
Environmentally conscious processing:
Once the cherries have been delivered to the wet mill, they are pulped within 4-8 hours to remove the fruit and 80-90% of the sticky mucilage from the bean. The beans are then left to soak in water overnight before being washed again and spread onto shade covered drying tables. In order to minimalise the risk of pollution in surrounding areas, the Doyo Cooperative has implemented the use of the natural ‘vetiver grass’ in sediment pools to remove any impurities from water used to process the coffee. The wet parchment coffee is then sorted by washing station staff, who will remove any beans that appear to have defects such as being under-ripe or insect-damaged. The parchment coffee is then transported to the final drying tables, where it is left for a period of 7-14 days dependent on weather conditions and is frequently turned over to ensure even drying.
Tasting notes: Immediate buttery mouth feel with apricot sweetness and delightful floral finish.
Try it for yourself here