Mekuria Merga is one of several washing stations with this name. This particular washing station is located in Gedo, in the woreda of Gedeb and buys cherries from around 500 farmers.
The three washing stations are named after their owner, Mekuria Merga, a highly respected coffee professional with 23 years experience in the industry. Mekuria Merga decided to establish his own export company “Wete Ambela” in 2018 to export coffees from his washing stations, which are renowned for their high quality coffees. Our sister company Nordic Approach has been buying Mekuria’s coffee through different exporters since 2014. Now we have a chance to buy directly from Mekuria, further strengthening an already great relationship.
Wete Ambela was established in 2018 by Mekuria Merga, a well known coffee professional. Mekuria has been working in the industry for 23 years and is renowned for his high quality washing stations that have been supplying to several exporters over the last ten years. Mekuria Merga decided to establish his own export company to take advantage of his well–earned reputation in the industry as a supplier of high quality coffee. The company has three washing stations, two in Yirgacheffe and one in Guji. The washing stations are supplied by 500-600 farmers and have a track record of supplying some of the highest quality coffee in Ethiopia. Wete Ambela produces about six containers a year, around half of these are washed coffees. The company employs about 65 people in its washing stations and export office.
Average lot size of farmers: 1-2 hectares
Number of trees per hectare: 1200
How much cherries per tree on average: 2-3 kgs
Average selling price of farmers per kilo of cherries: $0.88/28 birr
Harvest year: 2019
Post-Harvest Processing – Naturals
Harvest and cherry selection
Coffee cherries are harvested by family members, then hand-sorted to remove unripe and overripe cherries before they are delivered to the washing station for processing. Israel generally pays a higher price for good quality cherries, normally 2-4 Birr/kg on top of the general cherry prices.
Soaking and pre-sorting
The cherries are soaked in water. The healthy cherries will sink, while the diseased and damaged cherries will float and are skimmed off and removed. The cherries will then be moved to the drying beds. Underripe and defective cherries will be sorted out by hand during the first days.
When producing naturals the level of fermentation will be determined by the thickness and layer during the first days of drying in combination with temperature. Fermentation is slower at higher altitudes as temperatures are generally lower.
Drying and hand-sorting
The cherries are dried in a relatively thin layer at about 3-4 cm the first days. They will build up the layers to 6-10 cm after a few days. The coffees are moved frequently and they will be covered during the hottest hours of the day to protect the cherries from intense sunlight, then again at night to protect against humidity. This will also help improve quality as the coffee is rested and the drying more homogeneous. Drying naturals at these altitudes can take up to 20 days.