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Ethiopia - Bulega: Washed, Heirloom

Bulega comes from the province of Sidamo in the southern part of Ethiopia. Here there is a private coffee washing station called, Bulega. It is owned by businessman, Israel Defga (a name familiar to us here in 3fe for his work with Ana Sora, a coffee we roasted earlier in the year). 

Israel built the washing station just over three years ago – before that the farmers delivered to an area over 100km away – now there are hundreds of committed farmers delivering their cherries to Bulega. This washing station works for five months of the year (only processing washed coffees), compared to most washing stations which will work for around ten months of the year. 

The land surrounding the Bulega station is lush and green with altitudes of up to 2,200 masl, and is surrounded by small holder farmers and a unique protected forest area. Due to the fact many farmers deliver to Bulega, in this bag you’ll get a mixture of bean varieties. Some are native, while some are new varieties such as Certo and Wolisho. Ethiopian heirloom is a collective name for that mix of varieties. 

Like many Ethiopian coffees, Bulega is made up of hundreds of farmers who together deliver tiny amounts of cherries daily to a wet mill. Most of the farms are less than 1 hectare and typically have less than 1500 trees per hectare, and one tree produces usable cherries roughly between 100 - 200 grams of green coffee - less than the bag your holding!

At the mill, the whole ripe cherries are hand sorted from those that are unripe and overripe before they go into production. They are pulped by a disk pulper and graded in the pulper by density: The parchment is then fermented under water for about 48 hours, depending on the weather conditions. The coffee is then soaked between 12-24 hours in fresh, clean water before moved to the drying bed where they are left for 12-15 days to complete the drying process.

  1. Country: Ethiopia
  2. Region: Bulega
  3. Farm: Mokanissa Bulega
  4. Farmer: Various
  5. Altitude: 2,200 m.a.s.l.
  6. Variety: Heirloom
  7. Process: Washed