Enticing aromatics of creamy cocoa, blueberry, and a delicate floral quality reminiscent of violet introduce a cup that is undeniably and beautifully fruity while retaining impeccable clarity and structure. As the coffee cools, we find deeply sweet flavors of berry jam and milk chocolate and a gentle citrusy quality on the finish.
Ture Waji is rightly renowned as one of the most skilled producers of dry processed coffees in all of Ethiopia. This elegant Bookkisa lot is composed of coffees purchased from 33 small-holder farmers who live near the site in Shakiso, Guji that Ture owns and operates with his partners at Sookoo Coffee.
With a few notable exceptions, “dry processed” coffees (also commonly referred to as “naturals” or “natural process” coffees) have been conspicuously absent from Passenger’s menu. While our traditional preference for wet processed coffees is undeniable, the omission of dry processed lots on our offerings list does not reflect a lack of appreciation for how incredibly delicious a well-executed natural can be. Rather, it simply represents the fact that, for us, many, if not the majority, of the dry processed coffees we have the opportunity to taste are not strictly clean in the cup, meaning that they often exhibit unpleasantly overripe, savory, or even acetic flavors that disqualify them from consideration on our menu. Given our mixed experiences with naturals, it is always a special day when we have the opportunity to taste a great one, and this particular lot, produced by the dry process magician of Guji, Mr. Ture Waji, is a great one.
Ture, and his partners Eegata Alaka and Fedhasa Wodessa, founded Sookoo Coffee in 2018. Sookoo owns and operates two sites, one in the woreda of Uraga and one in the woreda of Shakiso (a “woreda” is a regional district that is smaller than a “zone” and larger than a “kebele”), within southern Ethiopia’s Guji zone. While additional projects are in the works for the future, the Sookoo operation has been largely focused on producing dry processed coffees for a variety of reasons. In addition to the fact that a wet mill is not required to produce dry processed coffees, an undeniable logistical and financial advantage, this style of processing also happens to be an area of special expertise for Ture who made a name for himself a few years ago while working as a quality specialist and manager for two large coffee estates in Guji: Mormora and Guji Highlands. Our 2020 Bookkisa offering comes from Sookoo’s site in Shakiso, located at a staggering elevation of 2,173 meters above sea level. Approximately 33 smallholder farmers from the local kebele of Suke Quto contributed coffee cherry to this lot.
As with any other processing method, top quality dry processed coffees simply do not happen by accident. Ture and his team train the farmers they buy from to only deliver coffee harvested at peak ripeness and they sort and dry the coffee cherries with incredible attention to detail after delivery. When drying the coffee on raised beds, great care is taken to remove underripe and overripe cherries by hand while the coffee is still fresh. Sorting early is important due to the fact that, once the coffee has dried for some time, color differences between the cherries are much less apparent. Ture’s team also keeps the depth of the coffee on the beds at 4cm or less and turns the coffee about 6 times a day to ensure even drying. When drying is complete, the coffee “pods” are rested in jute bags before undergoing multiple rounds of hand-sorting and optical sorting after hulling to remove defective beans.