Ethiopia | Koke Co-op, Honey


FARM: Koke Cooperative, Hafursa Waro
REGION: Southern Nations, Nationalities and People, Gedeo
ALTITUDE : 1870 - 1900 MASL
VARIETAL : Kumie, Diga, Wilsho
FLAVOUR NOTES: White grape, dried mango and apricot, cinnamon chocolate


Wet Processing was introduced to Ethiopia in the 1970’s with the very first wet mill being in Yirgacheffe. Since then coffees have either been available washed or fully natural, and the movement into honey produced coffees is very new. This innovation is in line with bigger investments in farms and the opening up of traceability and the purchasing structure in Ethiopia, moving away from the previous sole reliance on the ECX. The Koke cooperative itself has 828 members, and joined with Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperatives union in 2002 in order to increase their exposure to buyers and drive up the prices paid for their coffee.

Local smallholders grow heirloom varietals known locally as Kumie, Diga, and Wilsho. The genetic diversity in Ethiopia is loosely grouped into regional denominations for buying – Limu, Djimma, Lekempti, Sidamo, Yirgacheffe, Harar –with coffees recognized as having their own characteristics specific to each area. Amongst these areas though there can be a number of localized varietals, collectively called heirloom for ease, though not necessarily sharing the same characteristics as an heirloom plant from another region. This is why there is so much interest in the diversity of genetic material in Ethiopian coffees, but can be confusing in trying to figure out fine details.

Cherries are picked when ripe and then loosely pulped and fermented for 36-48 hours before drying to 11.5 moisture, which takes 18 days. The processing facility in Hafursa Waro has 10 fermentation tanks with 89 individual drying beds for Koke, allowing for full traceability of lots. Coffee in their warehouses is stored away from the wall and off the floor to allow for air movement and to prevent any mustiness developing.