Nansebo Worka | Sidama, Ethiopia


Producers: 1200 small holder farmers
Processor: Girma Wondimu
Village: Worka
District: Nansebo
Zone: West Arsi
Region: Oromia
Country: Ethiopia
Elevation: 1800-2000 masl
Screen Size: 14, sorted densimetrically & optically.
Process: Fully washed, dried on raised beds
Variety: Ethiopian Heirloom varieities.
Notes: Raspberry, Peaches, Nectarine
Weight: 250 Grams

Nansebo Worka is a very special treat, it is rare to ever find a coffee that is treated with this much attention and intention. Each coffee that we source at Tanager goes through a very long and detailed quality control process at origin. However, the folks at Dominion Trading and Catalyst found a coffee this harvest period that was a perfect fit for increased attention at the mill that will be immediately apparent in the cup.

Our coffee is grown by approximately 1200 small farmers in or near the Worka Village in the West Arsi Zone of Ethiopia. All of these farmers have Organic certifications, but the work is still being done to collect copies of all their certifications. West Arsi is situated between the lush Bale Zone to the west, the highly recognizable and famous Sidama zone to the east and to the north, you will find Harrar. However, the coffees from West Arsi are all still classified as being from Sidama.

Interestingly, all of the farms in this area are slightly larger than other farms in Ethiopia, rounding out at about 2-3 hectares (5-7 acres). This allows for a fairly diverse crop yield besides just coffee. Most farmers are also growing Onions, Bamboo and Avocado. They also grow Wanza, which is an indigenous tree used for fuel, tools and furniture as well as Teff and Wheat.

Since the farms are small, producers in Ethiopia usually do all of the harvesting as a family instead of hiring outside help. They are paid a high premium if they are willing to only pick ripe coffee cherries, ensuring top quality.

So what makes this coffee so special? When our good friends Michael and Emily along with their colleagues in Ethiopia, first tasted this coffee, they new it was a unique coffee. They decided to take it through a special process above and beyond the already highly rigorous sorting and processing it would go through normally.

The coffee is first pulped, however, they left a little bit of the juicy mucilage on the coffee and then fermented it for a total of 36-72 hours. During fermentation, the coffee is agitated constantly with wooden rakes in washing channels. After washing, the coffee is taken to drying beds where it is carefully monitored to ensure proper drying and moisture content.

At this point, while analyzing this particular lot of coffee, they decided to experiment with sorting coffees by screen size to see if there were noticeable differences in profile. Screen size ranges are often used in the sorting of coffee as a quality control measure, ensuring there is consistency. for instance, a mill may use a range of size 14-17 screens, which sit upon a large mechanical table, shaking and sifting the coffee. For this lot, our partners decided to narrow the scope to individual screen sizes. Our lot was screen size 14. Every coffee seed is nearly identical in size. It is also worth noting, each machine in the process has to be set up and calibrated in order to accommodate each screen size sorting. After going through the screen 14 sorter, also known as a densimetric sorter, the coffee is then taken to an optical sorter. Optical sorters, as the name implies, use a special optical lense to check for size and other defects and then sorts the coffee based on its test. After the coffee is sorted by screen size densimetrically and then optically, it is then put on a conveyor belt where highly trained and well payed sorters take time to look at each coffee seed for one final check. This coffee took a lot of work, every hand that has touched it with care and love along its journey into your cup agrees and believes that it was highly worth it for your enjoyment!

Because of the rigorous and thorough sorting that is needed during this processing and preparation, every worker involved received a bonus of 110 Birr in addition to their normal 35 Birr wage a day.

Along its several screen sizes, you can taste many unique aspects of this coffee. We chose this coffee because the smaller screen 14 size may mean that the coffee is filled with a higher density of flavor and juiciness. We have been tasting this coffee everyday with anticipation! Peach, nectarine and raspberry lemonade saturated each cup. We sincerely hope you are able to enjoy this coffee and are able to reflect on its story that starts so far away in one of the most remote coffee growing regions in the world.


***Huge thanks to Emily Mcintyre of Catalyst Coffee & Dominon Traders for the use of her photos from this past harvest.