|Altitude||1,910 - 2,200 masl|
|Harvest Period||October 2021 - February 2022|
Cup Profile: Apricot / Caramac / Jasmine
Boledu, founded in 2018, means "source" in the local language and combines over 12 years of experience in coffee from both Abyote Ageze and Mebrahtu Aynalem. "We have been producing and exporting both natural and washed high-end traceable qualities in our own washing stations located in the Guji zone, Dimtu Hamblea, Yirgacheffe, Aricha and Gedeb. We also have vertical agreements in Uraga and in Sidamo, collecting quality coffees from different small farmers."
By vertical integration, Mebrahtu means the coffee is sourced directly from the washing stations and not purchased from the Ethiopian Coffee Exchange (ECX). "We prefinance the washing station owners and he agrees to supply us. If I was to get a good coffee at the ECX I wouldn't necessarily be able to do it again in the future. There is no transparency. For consistency, I must have an agreement directly with the washing station. I also have an agronomist there to help prepare the coffees," he explains.
"The farmers we work with have been working with us for a good time. Before the harvest, we train them and explain the standards of cherry collection for specialty coffee and the premiums that come with it. We have a quality supervisor at the washing stations looking into who is bringing good quality and who isn’t. Their job is really important! They know when someone mixes unripe cherries with the ripe ones. Up to 10% unripe is okay and we will sort them at a later stage, but if farmers bring more than that we know we might not work with them until they agree to the standards."
Internal prices for cherry have been high for the second consecutive year. In the Yirgacheffe area, buyers were paying 24 Ethiopian birr in November 2020 according to Mebrahtu. He says Boledu was paying around 25.50 birr to be above the competition and secure the supply. “However the farmers know they need to bring us the ripe cherries. And we buy from 10 to 16 thousand kilos of cherry every day during harvest season," he says.
Yirgacheffee Grade 2 Washed designates the second highest quality you can buy from this region. The specialty grades are 1 and 2, followed by commercial grades ranging from 3 to 9. Though cherries will be bought in similar ways, grades are determined largely by the sorting process and cleaning of defects. Boledu's Yirgacheffe Grade 2 is sourced from Aricha washing station.