Mestaweal Asefa (Natural) - Ethiopia

Tropical Fruit. Berries. Rum.

Washing Station: Mestaweal Asefa
Region: Yirgacheffe, Kochere
Country: Ethiopia
Processing: Natural
Elevation: 1,900 - 2,100 masl
Varietals: Heirloom Bourbon & Typica
Sourced By: Melbourne Coffee Merchants

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Information on this coffee from MCM:

"Mestaweal Asefa (pronounced “Mes-te-wal Ase-fa”) originates from the Kochere ‘woreda’ (administrative region) of Southern Ethiopia’s Gedeo zone of Yirgacheffe.

Processed at the Mestaweal Asefa Washing Station, named after its owner Mestaweal Asefa located near the town of Chelelektu, coffee cherries are delivered daily by around 650 small holding farmers. These producers generally farm on small plots of land (averaging 0.7 hectares in size) located 1,850-1,950 metres above sea level.

About The Yirgacheffe Region

Ethiopia’s proud history as the birthplace of coffee and producer of some of the world’s most exquisite premium coffees means Ethiopian coffee is highly sought after internationally. The popularity of coffee among locals also remains strong; Ethiopians themselves drink more than half the quantity of coffee they grow.

Named after the Indigenous Gedeo People, the mountainous Kochere micro-region in Ethiopia’s southwest has long been renowned as one of the best origins of Southern Ethiopian coffee. A unique combination of very steep yet fertile land located at high altitude means much of the coffee grows at over 2,000 metres above sea level. At this altitude, exceptional heirloom varieties and iron-rich, acidic soil create ideal conditions to produce premium coffee.

At first glance, Yirgacheffe’s verdant hills appear thickly forested, yet it is a densely populated region dotted with villages, with around 43,000 farmers growing ‘garden coffee’ over approximately 62,004 hectares. Coffee is generally farmed organically and is an important cash crop grown alongside food for consumption.

Variety

This coffee is a blend of local varieties collectively known as ‘Ethiopian Heirloom’. All of these varieties are Arabica and most originate from a Typica predecessor, but with wild mutations that result in some exceptional and unique flavour profiles

Processing

This lot is classified as Grade 1, indicating that only superior quality coffee cherries from the Mestaweal Asefa Wet Mill have been selected and processed.

Ethiopia has one main annual coffee harvest across all growing regions, occurring from  November to January. To ensure only the very ripest cherries are selected, at least four passes are made during harvesting.

Although coffee from Yirgacheffe is primarily produced using the washed method, a smaller quantity of natural coffees such as this are also produced.

Producing coffee using the natural method is a complex process requiring a high level of attention to detail. Ethiopian coffee has been processed this way by generations of farmers who have mastered the art of the natural method as a result of centuries of tradition and experience.

Each day, carefully hand-picked coffee cherries are delivered to Mestaweal Asefa Wet Mill where they are hand-sorted to remove unripe or damaged fruit in order to enhance the quality and sweetness of the cup.

The coffee is then graded and spread evenly on raised screens to sun dry. Initially, it is laid very thinly and turned regularly to ensure consistent drying and prevent over-fermentation. When the coffee reaches 25% humidity, the layers of coffee are gradually increased, yet are consistently turned, remaining covered at the middle and end of the day to protect from extremes in temperature. Careful attention during this turning and drying phase ensures the coffee is stable; this enables a clean and balanced cup profile. After 6-8 weeks, the coffee has reached the ideal moisture level and is then hulled and milled to remove dried skin and parchment 

Why We Love It

Although thousands of bags of coffee marked ‘Yirgacheffe’ are sold annually, there are significant variations in cup quality. MCM will only purchase premium level coffee and therefore assessed many samples of Yirgacheffe to ensure it exhibited an exceptional cup profile possessing intense floral aroma, delicate acidity and notes of bergamot and lemon.

This Mestaweal Asefa coffee is a prime example of a clean, pure and superbly processed natural method Yirgacheffe. In the cup, it is intensely sweet and fruit-driven, with a rich orange acidity and delicate notes of strawberries and cream, blueberry and cherry.
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