Cultivation methods in the region remain largely traditional. Farmers in Gedeb usually mix other crops with coffee to make the most of the land and ensure their livelihood throughout the year.
More or less most farmers grow their coffee naturally organically. They use minimal or no fertilizers, all operations on the farm are done manually and collection is provided by the immediate family.
The Chelbesa processing station buys cherries from 248 farmers, whom farm on 0.5 – 1.5 ha. The soil here is nitisol – deep red, well-drained soil that is typical for the Ethiopian Highlands. All farmers in the vicinity of Chlebesa farm at an altitude of over 2000 meters above sea level.
In order to make the most of farmers and contribute to community life, they hold educational seminars at the station, build a new road in the village and buy computers for the local school.
After harvesting, the cherries are delivered to the station, where at intake they visually inspect them and accept only the ripe ones for anaerobic fermentation. Subsequently, the cherries are packed into plastic GrainPro bags, where they are sealed. Without air access, they then ferment for 18-24 hours.
In anaerobic fermentation, the most important aspect is process control. In a closed environment, microbes quickly consume oxygen and the environment thus becomes anaerobic, without air. Thus, microbes, which feed on carbon dioxide, begin to predominate, which in turn drives fermentation.
Microbes are an infinite number of species and each of them affects fermentation in a different way and brings new flavors to coffee. One of the most amazing but also the most unpleasant flavors we tasted in coffee came from experimental fermentations.
After fermentation, the cherries are depulped on a depulper and transferred to tiled fermentation tanks (they have tiles from the United Arab Emirates :-D), where they are fermented again under water for another 12 hours. Subsequently, the coffee is transferred to African beds, where it dries in the sun for 15 days.
Ethiopia is considered the cradle of coffee itself and its production is almost 10% of the country’s gross domestic product. Thousands of as yet undescribed varieties are estimated to be growing in Ethiopia, making the landscape the region with the largest coffee biodiversity in the world.
Given the historical tradition, the way coffee is grown in Ethiopia, along with the political situation and the local system, it is almost impossible to find single-species / single-variety lots (parts of the harvest). Although this has been slowly changing in recent years, it is still a typical designation of the Ethiopian coffee variety – Ethiopian heirloom varieties or Ethiopian native varieties. This is also the case with our great Chelbes coffee.