We’ve purchased washed coffees from Agaro consistently for the last five years. Coffees from mills like Yukro and Nano Challa are known for their extremely high quality washed processes, and we also love them for their advantageous harvest times. Arriving far before any other offerings, we love to feature these coffees in late spring and early summertime. Agaro coffees act as a harbinger for fresh coffees from Ethiopia. Read below to hear what Red Fox has to say about their work in Ethiopia.
Yukro comes to us from the Agaro region of Western Ethiopia, bringing with it a juicy and refreshing tartness of Jimma like currants, both red and black. While the original Yukro Multipurpose Cooperative was established in 1977, the Yukro we know and love today didn’t find its way to market until just ten years ago, after USAID’s Technoserve project vested this region—once known for less-than-stellar Grade 5 sundried naturals—with brand-new processing equipment, allowing their coffee to showcase its unique character and improve the lives of those growing it in the process. Yukro operates under the leadership of the Kata Muduga cooperative union, whose continued investment in the coops that it leads makes possible some of the most delicious and coveted coffees in the world.
Thanks to Technoserve’s initial investment and the stellar leadership of Yukro and Kata Muduga, Yukro’s processing is immaculate, leading to an incredible showcase of the coffee’s natural potential year after year for a ridiculously long time off harvest. The secret? After Penagos processing equipment mechanically removes most of the fruit and mucilage from the seeds, they soak overnight in fiberglass tanks, allowing any remaining sugars to be fully removed from their surface so that the coffees are perfectly clean by the time they hit the drying beds for the eight-plus days they’ll need to dry. Yukro has the good habit of managing the initial 24- 48 hours of this stage under a shaded canopy to protect the soaking-wet parchment from direct sunlight, preventing parchment cracking and thereby protecting the beans once they do move into the sun.
Yukro has always been a Red Fox staple; even before we opened in 2014, Yukro and the larger Agaro region were core projects for Red Fox founding members, dating back a decade. To this day, our long and substantial relationship with Asnake and Efrem, Kata Muduga’s leaders, affords Red Fox first right to lot selection. On top of that, with mighty effort from our strategic trade partners in Addis, we’re also able ship these lots first so that they enter the country pristine as when they left and with even more time to shine. Remarkably, Yukro not only starts the season stellar, it actually continues to open up and give even more over time, sometimes peaking in perfection at ten to twelve months off harvest and lasting long after that.
WASHED PROCESSED COFFEES
The washed process begins with coffee cherries delivered to the washing station, both from the primary market or from farmers bringing their coffee directly to the mill. The cherries are inspected, and an initial quick round of hand-sorting separates the defective coffees before placing them into the hopper. They are then funneled to the penagos pulper, which removes the fruit from the seeds. After that phase is done, the coffee is fermented underwater for approximately 24 hours. This phase of fermentation is crucial, as the yeast and microbes are breaking down the sticky mucilage layer found on the outside of the seed following depulp. Once the 24-hour fermentation is complete, the parchment is emptied into the washing channels, where it is agitated with rakes. During this step, the water is refreshed to ensure proper agitation and washing is taking place. Once the washing is complete, the coffee is taken to the raised drying tables for sun drying.