Producer: Hirut Birhanu and Mahder Birhanu
Origin: Gedeo, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
Tasting Notes: Blueberry, Chamomile, Almond
Varietals: Heirloom: Kurume, Wolisho, Dega
Altitude: 1880 - 2200 masl
Process: Coffee Cherry Fermentation
12 oz Whole Bean Coffee
This coffee, powered by a sister-lead team, is a quintessential expression of Ethiopian coffee from Yirgacheffe. We taste delicate floral notes of fresh blueberry, ripe pineapple and chamomile plus an almond extract aroma. The unique coffee cherry fermentation process allows for a silky mouthfeel to round off the cup!
Information from Catalyst Trade:
Led by dynamic sister team of CEO Hirut Birhanu and Manager Mahder Birhanu, Dumerso is a family endeavor that is anchored in Yirgacheffe and extends its reach to several other areas of Ethiopia.
The flagship washing station is Dumerso, acquired 12 years ago and named for the village where it is located in the Yirgacheffe District. The family has lovingly worked in coffee for more than 20 years, in the process undergoing quite a lot of upheaval and real challenges.
About the Coffee Cherry Fermentation Process:
Typical processing for washed Ethiopian coffee sees cherries entering the washing station atop donkeys or carried by hand. Usually contained in a plastic bag at this stage, the cherries are weighed with a traditional scale (often painted a rich shade of sea green) and the volume entered against the producer’s name in the washing station’s logbook. The smallholder receives their money, which is used to purchase food and school supplies, and to pay for rent on their huts and small sections of land.
Once the cherries are logged, they are either carried straight to the hoppers or—as we at Catalyst Trade prefer and pay premiums for—dumped into float tanks so that lower-density cherries can surface and be skimmed off for lower grade coffees or local consumption. The higher-density cherries sink to the bottom, displaying their quality by their weight. After this, the remaining cherries are carried in wood-and-wire trays to drying tables to let the water drip off of them and receive careful hand sorting of any visible defects.
At this point, the cherries are dumped into big cement hoppers where they tumble down into the pulping machines. Here, the seed is separated from the fruit by rough-surfaced pulping disks and then channeled into various density channels and tanks where they start fermentation to loosen the sticky mucilage from the seed.
This is where our Coffee Cherry process kicks in and shakes things up. Instead of simply filling the fermentation tank with pulped parchment and then covering with water, we take them into a round of proprietary steps in which cherry skins removed in the pulping process are added at key points in the fermentation process, infusing for a controlled cycle. Once complete, the parchment coffee is funneled into the washing channels where local filtered river water pours over them and laborers, often singing songs to stay in sync with each other, scrub them with wooden rakes until the water runs clear.
Finished with the washing, the parchment coffee is carried in wood-and-wire trays to draining tables, where the excess water drains away for 6-10 hours. Post-draining, the beans, still in their parchment jackets, are carried to open-air drying tables that are shaded by mesh canopies and then laid out to slowly let the sun kiss them and draw out their moisture content. In a step up from usual table materials, the drying beds are made from nylon mesh instead of bamboo weave covered with jute. Once the coffees reach their ideal drying level, they are bagged up and kept carefully separate as they are transported first to a regional processing mill and then to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, for final export processing and shipping to the world.