Ethiopia is regarded by many as the birthplace of coffee. It has been cultivated there since the 1500s, in much the same way it is grown today. Most coffee grows wild in the shade of other trees and is referred to as forest grown coffee. Other coffees grow in gardens along with other crops, with minimal agricultural intervention. Some is a bit of a combination, where producers lightly cultivate and weed their forest crop in order to ease harvesting. In any case, most smallholders produce an average of only 5 bags per year.
Limu lies in the western highlands of Oromia, Ethiopia. This region is known for its abundant water supply as well as its forests (adjacent to those pointed towards as the birthplace of Arabica coffee). Most coffee in Limu is semi-forest grown on less than one hectare. Here, hummus-rich soils are constantly renewed by the continual fall and decomposition of organic matter.
Traditionally coffee in Limu was dried in the fruit and stored by producers in their homes until taken to a dry mill for exchange. It is only with the recent development of collective wet mills in the region that washed Limu coffee has emerged. The availability of water here in particular enables the washed process. This process, coupled with the genetic diversity of heirloom coffee varieties, yields the characteristic flavor profile. Like the coffee from other Southern regions such as Yirgacheffe and Sidamo, Limu is known for citric acidity and floral notes.
Fahem General Trading PLC-Gera Out-Growers
In order to reach individual farmers, producer groups of 20-25 are organized in relation to local villages. Each group has a lead-farmer who promotes the coffee and supports the cooperative management team, ensuring that training and other services reach the individual producers. Our Ethiopia Limu G1 is produced by 167 producers who together comprise the Fahem General Trading PLC-Gera out-growers group. Currently, they are working towards Rainforest Alliance and Organic Certification.
Cherry from their heirloom varietals is handpicked and hand-sorted in the field. Upon arrival to the Yukro Wet mill, the coffee is sorted again. The cherry is machine pulped with 20 percent mucilage left on the bean. Next, the coffee is submerged in water where it ferments for 12-24 hours, depending on the temperature. Subsequently the coffee is washed, freeing the parchment from the remaining mucilage. Yet again, the coffee is sorted, this time through flotation. The coffee is sun-dried on raised beds and patios for five to seven days at the Mohamed Lalo Yebu dry mill. Finally, it is sorted once more at the drying tables. This meticulous level of sorting is what distinguishes this coffee as a Ethiopia Limu G1.