West Hararge, Ethiopia
$19.50 | 12 oz bag
Harar served as a hub of trade for centuries and brought recognition to Ethiopia for its coffee. The coffee that Harar is known for is grown in the semi-arid mountains in the wider region of Hararge. Coffee from this area is generally considered to be processed in a rudimentary fashion—often dried on the ground—which can translate to less-vibrant flavors. With the goal of redefining coffee from Hararge, the producers of Micheta introduced quality-focused practices like drying coffee on raised beds that resulted in a more refined profile with notes of dried date, spices, and rose water.
Counter Culture last bought coffee from Hararge in 2008. Since then, a lot has changed in how and where we source our coffees in Ethiopia, but we have always been on the lookout for exciting new projects in the dry climate of this historic region. This is why in October 2017, just as the harvest in Hararge was getting underway, we were excited to learn about an exciting project from Keffa Coffee, one of our importers. Keffa, which focuses on importing Ethiopian coffees, said they were working with a producer in the village of Micheta who wanted to change the way coffees were being processed and handled. With the prospect of the return of coffee from the region to Counter Culture after 10 years, we didn’t think twice and booked the coffee immediately after hearing the steps they were taking.
Micheta itself is a small village located few kilometers from the southeast town of Mechara. The level of coffee production and quality in the area has been improving over time due to the fact that there is a coffee research center in Mechara that has knowledge on coffee farming and processing techniques and supports farmers with improved coffee varieties.
Farmers in the area produce coffee on farms ranging from 1 to 30 hectares and in the past have mostly processed their coffee in their backyards. This generally involved harvesting, and drying coffee cherries (often underripe, and overripe) on bare soil or on a tarp. When the coffee fully dried, farmers would would mill it at home with a traditional stone mortar. Then, they sell their green coffee in the local market and to collectors who would bulk coffee and deliver it to exporters in the town Dire Dawa. To change this system, a man named Biru Bekele started investing in Micheta. He implemented selective red cherry picking and centralized raised bed drying for higher quality and consistency. This experiment paid off this year, resulting in what is the best coffee from Hararge (Harar) we have seen in 10 years.
The coffee is named after a small village called Micheta.