Gelana Abaya

Blueberries. Dark Chocolate. Rum.

Washing Station: Gelana Abaya
Region: Yirgachefe, Gedeo 
Country: Ethiopia
Processing: Natural
Elevation: 1,800 - 2,100 masl
Varietals: Heirloom
Sourced By: Cafe Imports


Information on this coffee from Cafe Imports:

"This coffee comes from the Gelana Abaya washing station near the kebele (village) of Asgori located in the woreda (district) of Abaya.

Local tribe: Tore

Language: Omoromic

Number of producers: 9000–10,000

Average farm size: 3.5 hectares

The coffee is covered during the hottest part of the day. Lots of fresh compost used in this area which is beneficial for health of the coffee trees. Gelana Abaya is another gem in Yirgacheffe region - nestled between Lake Abaya on the west and the town of Yirgacheffe on the East.

About coffee trade in Ethiopia:

The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) was established by the Ethiopian government in 2008 with the intention of democratizing marketplace access to farmers growing beans, corn, coffee, and wheat, among other commodities. As farmers in Ethiopia typically own very small plots of land and are largely sustenance farmers—growing what crops they need for household use and selling the surplus for cash—it was decided that standardization would be the most egalitarian way to improve economic health and stability in the agricultural sector.

The ECX strove to eliminate the barriers to sale by giving farmers an open, public, and reliable market to which to sell their products for a set and relatively stable price. At its inception, the ECX rules dictated that any coffee not produced by a private estate or a co-operative society was required to be sold through the Exchange, which established guaranteed price and sale for farmers, but by design, it took the “specialty” out of the coffee and turned it into a commodity—escaping all traceability aside from the most basic regional and grade information.

After pushback from the specialty-coffee industry and several rounds of intense negotiation, a later iteration established that washing-station information was made available after the coffees were purchased, though certainly tracing them down to the individual producers would prove impossible.

In March 2017, the ECX voted to allow direct sales of coffee from individual washing stations, which will not only allow for increased traceability, but will also allow for repeat purchases and relationship building all along the chain—a change that increases the potential for higher prices to the farmers. It remains to be seen what the impact of greater traceability and more direct sales will have on specialty coffees from Ethiopia, but the industry appears optimistic.