Egu Abaye, Ethiopia - 8 oz Bag

7- egu abaye, ethipopia.jpg
7- egu abaye, ethipopia.jpg

Egu Abaye, Ethiopia - 8 oz Bag


Varieties: Ethiopia Heirloom

Elevation: 2200 MASL

Process: Dry (Natural)

This is the first natural processed coffee we’ve had in our lineup in quite a while. We are typically looking for a very clean cup profile when selecting naturals for our program. This coffee fit the bill and more. With tasting notes that are typical for natural processed coffees… like berries. But less like the typical super ferment-y blueberry juice and more like crisp raspberry jam. Expect this raspberry jam vibrancy as you first sip the cup followed by a smooth milk-chocolate body with a long and clean finish.

From Nordic Approach (Importer):

Privately owned communal wetmill in Egu Abaye area of Guji – by Israel Degfa. He owns 26 washing stations and a farm, across the South and South West of Ethiopia.

Many of Israel's washing stations are great just because of the location and altitude etc, but he is also investing in better systems and protocols in many of them. We are also buying improved naturals, honey coffees, and shade dried coffees from these washing stations.

Every day of production they are differentiating what goes in to the improved and better qualities (grade 1) from what’s a normal preparation for grade 2 and grade 3s. He has invested in flotations systems for cherries and systematically separate some of the coffees for better performance on site. These coffees are taken better care of by an assigned quality team. They generally do lot separation based on 150 bags of parchment, equal to 100 bags of greens. But they often do smaller lot sizes as well when they do honey, shade or other improved preparations.

Producer philosophy and relationship

Even if Israel is a producer of big volumes he started in 2014 to work on the quality of processing across his washing stations as priority. It was this shift in focus that caused Israel to look for different ways to produce and market his coffees, ways that would facilitate and value his new emphasis on quality. It was from this point that we began to work with Israel, visiting his washing stations and learning about his business, we also began to know him through this process. Through this relationship we have been able to cup through coffees processed by Israel’s washing stations with him in our lab in Addis, and with the team back here in Oslo and share what we value in the cup and the kind of profiles we are looking for. He has also given us a lot of scope to access his coffees and take sample material for assessment, as well as permitting our specific instructions on both processing at the washingstations and the milling prep for the lots we purchased from him. 

Traceability, milling and quality control

Israel Degfa is a young business man in Ethiopia with a sure and steady focus. In previous years the production at these washing stations has been focused on volume. This was also related to the previous lack of traceability when the producers were forced to sell their coffees through the commodity exchange. But over the last years Israel has shifted his focus, waiting for a political shift allowing producers sell directly to importers like Nordic. And finally in 2017 it all got liberalized.

From this year on he completely manages the supply chain and trace ability. The coffees are separated according to the days and areas of harvest as well as by preparation. The premium coffees for direct sales sits in the warehouses at the washing stations until he decide to move it to Addis. The coffee truck have to pass through a local ECX facility where they draw a sample and the quality is verified in the ECX lab and the coffee get an official grade, like Q 1 (grade 1). When approved the truck can move on to Addis.

Israel have invested in a great and modern warehouse and dry mill in Addis. They have separate areas for washed and naturals as well as for speciality and for the normal commodity. He have invested in very high tech color sorters as well as a quality lab. As soon as the coffee gets to Addis, or if we need samples to take buying decisions we communicate closely and directely with the quality team, and can draw samples our selves in the warehouse. The samples will be brought to our own lab in Addis for cupping and quality measures.

 As soon as a sample or contract is approved Israel allow us to be in the warehouse while coffees are dry milled, graded and bagged, and we can immediately draw another pre shipment sample for approval.

 At the washing stations

 The farmers:

Some hundreds smallholder farmers delivering tiny amounts of cherries daily to the communal washing station.

On average farmers are having a farm size of less than 1 hectares. Most coffees are organic by default. Organic compost is common, pruning less common. A farmer can typically have less than 1500 trees pr hectar, and 1 tree is typically producing cherries equal to less than 100 - 200 grams of green coffee.


A mix of local improved variety’s like Certo and local Wolisho . Such as native coffee of forest origin transferred to family smallholder plots. The varieties are referred to collectively as Ethiopian Heirloom, which is a myriad of local native Typica hybrids and new improved varietals based on the old strains.

Production process naturals:

Producing great natural coffees is challenging and it requires at least as much attention to details as producing good washed coffees. Israel have programs with the farmers and producer groups to increase cherry quality for the naturals, as well as he have invested in flotation systems for separation before it goes in to production. 

Naturals is all about the cherry quality, sorting and grading and the drying procedure in combination with the day to day climate.

For he’s premium naturals Israel is targeting the highest quality grades there is. The cherries are hand sorted for un-ripe and over ripe cherries to get a sweeter and cleaner product. Even if it is not always the case the Natural coffee is often processed at the later part of the harvest and that’s when the harvest is peaking at the higher altitudes. 


The coffees are dried on raised african drying beds. Drying takes 12-20 days depending on the weather. They have a trained quality team at the site specialized in handling the naturals. The first phase of drying is crucial and are done in relatively thin layers on the tables to avoid fermented flavors and if it goes as planned it should reach what’s called the “raisin” stage at about 25% humidity in a few days. It’s important to move the cherries carefully to avoid damage on the fruit. At this stage the coffees are constantly sorted for lower quality cherries.

In the second phase, from 25% - 10% moist, the layers are built up, and it’s constantly moved during daytime, and needs some rest mid day and at night. An uncontrolled drying sequence can increase the very fruity and fermenty flavors and make it unstable, and if to slow it can create mold and other off flavors. It’s a costly process that requires good labor and attention if you want it at the highest quality levels. Coffees are covered in shade nets during midday and in plastic cover at night.

**Coffee roasts and ships on Wednesday.

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