This coffee’s journey began in an unlikely place: Minnesota. Negusse Debela visited a specialty coffee cafe and had a revelation over how diverse and sweet a cup of coffee can be. From this moment, Negusse began to explore coffee back home in the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia. He experienced the tradition of growing and processing coffee, and understood how to improve and move coffee forward in his home. From this journey, SNAP specialty coffee was established in 2008, aiming to supply high-end specialty coffee, facilitating a similar experience that Neguesse had in Minnesota years ago.
From its wetmill in Gedeb, SNAP works with 486 smallholder producers to produce complex and floral coffees that are outstanding examples of what Yirgacheffe coffees can be. SNAP operates in Gedeb with their vertically integrated Veer Trading Company. The work that is put into processing these coffees is upheld by their dry mill in Addis Ababa. After each harvest these coffees are sorted by screen size, as well as density. This focus on processing and milling produces extremely stable and delicious coffee each season.
YIRGA CHEFFE & GEDEO
Gedeo zone is located within the long-winded state named Southern Nations and Nationalities of the People’s Region. Coffee from Gedeo is labeled as Yirgacheffe, which in my opinion, definitely rolls off the tongue a little easier. Now Yirgacheffe has six different micro-regions called “woredas”. That means coffees from Wenago, Kochere, Yirgacheffe (double name), Gedeb, Bule, and Dilla Zuria are all considered Yirgacheffe coffee.
The coffees throughout the region are known for incredible stone fruit and citrus-forward acidity, delicate florals, and incredible sweetness. Both washed and naturally processed coffees come from the region, and you’ll see both throughout the year. Unlike in Central or South America, coffee cherries are not pulped on-site at the farm but instead delivered to a communal washing station and purchased in raw cherry form by the kilo. Overall this is one of our favorites areas to visit, and you will see many different micro-lots and offers from the area all year long.
There are few leaps in the technique of processing coffee larger than the most recent trend of Anaerobic processing. This is oftentimes a technique of natural processing coffee, where whole cherries are fermented in a limited oxygen environment. The word Anaerobic is a catch-all term used more often than not to refer to a limited oxygen environment. Coffee cherries are subject to a pre-fermentation before they are moved to a drying bed or patio. The extended fermentation often adds a winey or fruity note to the coffee. Throughout the world, we’ve seen this practiced in many ways, from adding cherries into a clean grainpro and tying the top for the night, all the way to stainless tanks with an airlock on the top to slowly let out carbon dioxide caused by the microbes at work. There are many who are working to understand and better control this process to gain clarity on what is really going on with limited oxygen fermentation.