Farm – Qorema Cooperative
Altitude – 1774 masl
Location – Nenseba Woreda, West Arsi zone, Oromia, Western Ethiopia
Preparation – Washed and sun-dried
Variety – Various heirloom coffees
Owners – Qorema Cooperative – 345 small holder farmers
Traditionally, coffees from Western Ethiopia were considered to be of a lower grade due to a lack of technical infrastructure in place which would result in a cleaner and more complex cup profile. Most of the coffee produced here was naturally processed as a result of poor access to washing stations in the area. However in 2008, TechnoServe (a non-profit organisation whose mission is to empower people in the developing world to build businesses that break the cycle of poverty) started to work in Oromia in an attempt to add value to the product farmers had to sell. Washing stations have been financed throughout the region and cooperative managers have been trained in production methods (e.g. meticulous sorting, well-managed drying etc) to focus on increasing the quality of the coffee produced there. The Qorema cooperative was formed in 2012 with the assistance of TechnoServe and the quality of the coffee produced is now exceptional rivalling some of the best washed coffees from well-known regions such as Yirgacheffe and Sidamo.
The Ethiopia Qorema Cooperative and washing station can be found in the West Arsi zone and now has 345 active members – coffee is farmed here on areas that are usually smaller than half a hectare alongside other crops such as maize, teff and bananas. Cherries are carefully hand-picked and taken to the Qorema washing station where they are pulped using an eco-friendly Penagos 1500 depulper. Once the sticky mucilage has been removed, the beans are put into a soaking tank to rest overnight before being spread over shaded raised drying beds to encourage a slow and even drying process. The parchment beans are turned over regularly during the drying period which should take around 8 to 10 days. Once this has been completed, the beans are manually picked through to remove any defects and are finally taken to the dry mill in Addis Ababa to be prepared for export.