This lot was produced at Ayla, a privately owned washing station in the Sidama zone. It’s located in the local village, or kebele, of Bombe and is one of twenty owned and managed by Testi Coffee, a family owned company founded by Mr Faysel A. Yonis. The station is named after one of Mr Faysel’s nieces.
Coffee cherries are delivered to Ayla by 700-800 independent outgrowers, most of whom farm organically on very small plots of land (average 1-2 hectares). Coffee serves as their main cash crop and grows along subsistence crops such as corn, grain and bananas, utilising the shade of native Birbira, Wanza and Acacia trees. These farms sit at an extremely high altitude of around 1950-2150m above sea level, which, along with the cool climate, provides ideal conditions for the slow ripening of coffee cherries. This leads to a denser bean, and sweet, complex cup profile.
This coffee lot was produced as part of Testi’s quality improvement initiative, Premium Cherry Selection (PCS). PCS ensures best practice growing, harvesting and processing, with Testi paying a premium to participating farmers. Coffees produced under PCS represent the highest quality and cleanest cup profile available from the region.
Ayla produces both washed and natural processed lots using the nearby Bonora river as its main source of water.
This lot was processed using the washed method. It’s classified as Grade 1 - the highest for Ethiopian coffees, which indicates meticulous selection and grading.
During harvest, cherries are delivered daily to Ayla, and are hand sorted, then floated to eliminate unripe, overripe or damaged cherries. They are then pulped and graded by weight (heavier beans are of higher quality), then left to soak in tanks of clean water for 36-48 hours. This allows the mucilage to ferment and detach from the bean.
The coffee re-washed and re-graded by density (using washing channels) then soaked in clean water for another 12 hours. The staff ensure the water remains clear and fresh, replacing it as necessary, and manually determine when parchment is ready to be dried, by feel. When ready, the coffee is dried on raised beds, under a parabolic shade net for 5-7 days (weather dependent). During the drying process, the coffee turned to ensure even drying and is manually sorted to remove any beans with defects. Once the coffee is dry and has reached desired moisture levels, it is rested in parchment until ready for milling and export.
This information and these images have kindly been shared with us by our import partners Melbourne Coffee Merchants.