Region: Bensa, Sidamo
Producer: Testi Coffee Exports
Altitude: 2000 masl
The Sidamo region is well known to most people, but with the privatization of the coffee industry over the last 3 years, new areas have emerged, leading to some crossings between Sidamo and a lesser known region called West Arsi.
Bensa is located between the borders of both regions, and due to its proximity to Bale Mountain National Park, they have developed a surprisingly wide range of exciting and high quality coffee.
What we find here is a coffee with hints of complex tropical fruit and delicious currant fruits. Intensely fruity with a sweetness reminiscent of syrup and a super juicy and refreshing acidity - thank you Ethiopia and Testi Coffee Exporters for this year's successful harvest.
In the middle of the province of Sidamo, one of the three major Ethiopian coffee regions, the washing station in Bensa collects coffee berries at an altitude of around 2,000 meters by 800 small farmers. The station is part of a group of successful washing stations run by local coffee entrepreneur Faisel Abdosh, who runs his family's company Testi Coffee Exporters with a focus on Ethiopian specialty coffee.
Faisel Abdosh is the owner of seven washing stations and the owner of the export business. He was joined by his cousin Adam in 2014. Adam previously lived in Texas but moved to Ethiopia to be involved in the family's growing business.
Testi are only involved in coffee because they believe that a sharp focus is crucial to achieving the highest quality. Asked about their efforts and strategies to ensure quality, Adam said they have a laser-focused focus on every part of their business, "so we know nothing goes wrong and we have a great chance to make improvements."
Faisel was exposed to the coffee industry at a young age when he has several close relatives who are engaged in coffee growing. When asked why specialty coffee, Adam said it was because he likes the challenge. If people tell him that something can not be done, he is even more motivated to achieve it.
The coffee berries are collected manually when they have reached maturity for later hand sorting. The beans are made from a traditional Agaarde Disc pulp. Peel and pulp are removed before the machine grades the parchment in water as 1st or 2nd grade quality, determined by density.
Coffee is washed in channels and graded in water according to density. The lower density (lower quality) will float and be removed, leaving only the denser and therefore higher quality beans that are separated and take part in this batch.
After 72 hours of fermentation, soak for 2 hours.
The coffee is then stacked in 2 cm high layers and dried for a 10-day period, which is then followed by hand sorting for 2-4 hours.
After drying, the coffee will be packed in jute bags and stored in the local warehouse on site, separated by process and quality. Party sizes can vary from 100 - 300 bags. This process helps to condition the coffee and achieve a more even moisture. They will normally be stored 1-2 months before being moved for export.
Testi employs about twenty permanent employees. In collaboration with customers, they have built two schools in Guji and Yirgacheffe. "Most people claim that we do activities that support society, but rarely do we actually follow up on its operation and sustainable implementation," Adam said. However, the Testi team monitors the schools they have built and provides them with materials needed for consistent operation. They now plan to build water pumps to give society access to clean drinking water.
Like to get a taste? Click on the picture to get to our coffee selection