Special Selection - Danche Chelbesa
From our importing partner, Shared Source:
This coffee is from the heavily populated Gedeb zone of what is known as the “Yirgacheffe” region by the coffee trade. It comes to us from a washing station located near the town (kebele) of Chelbesa, in the booming Gedeb woreda, Gedeo zone, SNNPR. Danche comes from the name of a small hamlet within Chelbesa Village that is the location of the washing station to which 476 neighboring smallholder farmers deliver their ripe coffee cherries. This location is the latest hotspot for the finest coffees within the famous Yirgacheffe denomination, and Danche’s precipitous altitude and new infrastructure (only in its first year of operation) make it super special within what is already next-level quality. The station is at about 2050 masl (important because altitude contributes to complexity of acidity and sweetness levels), and it’s located in a region that has pretty perfect weather conditions for growing, drying and processing coffee (truly- we’ve scarcely ever seen better soil health, plant and cultivar selection, health, cherry maturation and a more ideal overall climate in our travels). Gedeb Woreda is known for its dense, layered semi-forest vegetation structure including banana trees and shade-grown coffee, and it’s a great example of coffee growing agroecology in Ethiopia. The growing season in the region is from November to January.
While we spent many, many hours sourcing the coffee (selecting it among many other lots, visiting the area, ensuring our lot was exported safely, reliably and in a timely fashion), we want to acknowledge that our work here is only on the quality preservation side- the quality creation side is thanks entirely to the hundreds of pairs of hands of smallholder farmers and the organizational infrastructure provided by the washing station owner (in this case, SNAP Trading). Danche Chelbesa is owned and operated by SNAP Coffee Trading, and is expertly managed. The station receives and processes cherries delivered by over 460 farmers (mostly Dega, Kurume and Wolisho varietals) who live around the area and deliver coffee by mule and on their backs. SNAP built the new washing station with the hope of purchasing exclusively red cherries from the nearby farmers. 476 producers contributed cherries to this lot; most farmers are smallholders with land between 1 and 2 hectares. We cupped samples from parchment form stored at the washing station, and then later from coffee arrived into the warehouse in Addis Ababa to make our lot selections- this one is a traditional washed lot from the middle of the harvest. The washing station’s fermentation tanks are ceramic, which helps to regulate the temperature and allow for even fermentation. The parchment is de-pulped, and moved using water through channels and left with a thin layer of water covering the parchment during the fermentation step. Once the coffee is ready to be washed, it’s washed in channels and graded by density. (Lower density beans will float and be removed- that leaves only the denser and higher-quality beans, which are separated as higher grade lots.) From there, it’s moved to drying tables. There, it’s piled up and dried over a period of approximately 10 days. As its final step at the washing station, the coffee is sorted by hand.
In the 2020 buying season, Ethiopian government authorities set minimum coffee sales prices by region, coffee grade and seller type. The minimum pricing stipulated by the authorities for the grades and type we buy fluctuated between $3.10 and $4.20 a pound (FOB Djibouti) during the buying season. We’re stoked that Ethiopia has managed to command such a premium above commodity coffee prices (roughly a 1/4 to a 1/3 of the above prices). With this very safe “fairness” price floor in place, we do not disclose our prices in Ethiopia since, above these minimums stipulated; pricing is basically set by the seller so a fair price is ensured.
Price paid for the coffee: $5.15/lb USD = $14.96/kg CAD not including customs and freight.
We applied our standard mark up we use for all coffees, meaning even though this coffee is more expensive, we make the exact same amount as any other of our coffees; the price is based purely on what we paid for it.
As with all of our Special Selection Coffees, we are adding an additional $00.50 to the price and then donating $1 from every purchase to the Portland Hotel Society who help support the residents of the Downtown East Side here in Vancouver. You can read more about their organization here: https://www.phs.ca/
Supporting our local community is as important to us as supporting the farmers. PHS does a lot of amazing work to help provide housing, healthcare, harm reduction and health promotion for some of the most vulnerable and under-served people in our community.
A note on roast dates:
Contrary to most coffee myths (based off old information), it's best not to use coffee that is too fresh. For espresso, we recommend using coffee between three days to four weeks old, while with filter and drip coffee - it's best if the beans are three weeks to twelve weeks from the date of roasting.
If you would like your coffee already rested, please let us know in the comment section of your order and we will do our best to fulfill your order with rested coffee, if we have it available. Please note that based on fluctuating order amounts, we won't always have rested coffee available at the time you order, and you are welcome to reach out to us to check on our inventory levels for rested coffee before ordering.