West Arsi, Ethiopia
$18.50 | 12 oz bag
West Arsi is located halfway between the famous coffee-growing regions of Yirgacheffe and Hararge, but historically hasn’t been recognized for its coffee. However, the high elevations in the region that border the famous Harenna forest are starting to attract attention. The Rafisa washing station in West Arsi was built in 2012, but, under new leadership this past year, the potential of coffees from the area is beginning to come to fruition. Look for notes of honeysuckle, pink grapefruit, and sugar cane.
The Rafisa washing station was established in 2012. The washing station was brought under new leadership when country implemented a new coffee-marketing policy in 2017 that permitted the direct export of coffees from privately owned washing stations like Rafisa.
Now, the washing station—which is owned by Negussie Debela—works with small-scale coffee-producing farmers in the area and purchases ripe coffee cherries from the villages of Rafisa, Ruricho, Tolana, and Bulga. Most of coffee-producing villages located near the Rafisa washing station are at very high elevations—producing coffee between 1,850 and 2,020 m.a.s.l.
Coffee from these villages can be classified under two main production systems: semi-forest and garden coffee. A semi-forest coffee production system is characterized by land covered by indigenous and common shade trees where coffee is grown underneath the canopy. The villages near the Rafisa washing station that share a border with the famous Harenna forest—where wild coffee grows—use semi-forest production systems. Just outside the forest border, growers produce garden coffee, which they harvest from small plots of land, often close to their homes.
Despite the fact that this area is not widely recognized for its coffee, we have tasted great lots from Rafisa for a few years. While we weren’t able to purchase coffees from Rafisa in the past due to of the lack of a traceable purchasing system, the implementation of the new Ethiopian coffee policy in July 2017 has allowed us to re-initiate communication with the washing station and add this exciting new coffee to our menu.