Ethiopia, Homacho Waeno, New Seasonal Offering

By David Shaub Stallings

Sidama Coffee Farmer's Cooperative Union
Washing Station
Homacho Waeno
Heirloom Landraces
1,900-2,100 meters above sea level
Harvest Season

With great genetic diversity and ideal growing conditions, Ethiopia is considered by many to produce some of the finest coffees in the world. The birthplace of coffee, this country cultivates varieties from a gene pool that dates back more than a millennium. It is no wonder that such richly complex and beautiful coffees can be found coming from Ethiopia.

Unlike the rest of the coffee producing world, Ethiopia still has many wild growing coffee plants. Varieties have evolved naturally and as such are incredibly well adapted to their surroundings, to the point that chemical inputs (fertilizers), pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are employed on a much smaller scale when compared to the rest of the coffee producing world. The majority of coffee produced in this country is organic in the truest sense of the word (whether certified as such or not). The landraces in Ethiopia are genetically very similar to the Typica varieties of Yemen that made their way to Indonesia, by way of India, in the 1600's. While varieties do change from region to region within Ethiopia, you will often see "landraces" or "heirloom" listed as the variety. This does not denote a homogenous genetic pool covering all of Ethiopia. In fact, quite the opposite. The diversity is incredible and still very much being studied and explored. 

It should also be noted that referring to the coffees as heirloom landraces does not mean that there is a lack of knowledge surrounding these coffees. The Ethiopian government spends a good amount of time, resources and energy on cataloging varieties, as well as planting specific varieties in specific regions. That said, there is a guarded element to the Ethiopian government. At first this may seem strange, but in reality it makes complete sense, especially when viewed in the context of the wild success of a variety such as Gesha. If every coffee producing country in the world can produce coffee that tastes like Ethiopian coffee, then Ethiopia loses the very specific place it has in the coffee world and as such becomes slightly less valuable in the global coffee market.

Coffee ceremony in Yirgalem, Ethiopia.

This lot from Homacho Waeno comes to us via the Sidama Coffee Farmer's Cooperative Union. It is certified organic and is the result of some 3,500 small holder farmers who deliver their cherry to Homacho Waeno, a washing station that has existed since 1975. Homacho Waeno represents our first southern Ethiopia release of the year (up to this point we have only released coffees from the west).

In The Cup

    • An incredibly pleasant and balanced cup, Homacho Waeno presents bergamot aromatics that lead in to a cup full of watermelon-like acidity over a milk chocolate base.

The Takeaway

      • Produced by some 3,500 small holder farmers and delivered to the Homacho Waeno washing station in Sidama, this is our first Ethiopian release from that 2016/2017 harvest season that hails from southern Ethiopia.