Region: Southern Nations, Nationalities , and Peoples’ Regoion (SNNPR)
Zone: Keffa Zone
Altitude: 1,900-2,000 meters above sea level
Owner: Ethio Agri Ceft
Screen Size: 14+
Bag Weight: 60kg
Grain Pro: Of course!
Aroma: Fruity, herbal and brown sugar
Flavor: Peach, matcha tea with hints of rosemary & thyme
Body: Medium to light
Acidity: Sweet and fruity
Certifications: Rain Forest Alliance (RFA)
About the Farm
It takes quite the journey to get to the Beha Land Coffee Farm (BLCF) which is located near the Mankira forest in the heart of the Kaffa zone. After a short 40min flight from Addis Ababa to Jimma, you begin a 3 hour scenic drive through lush green forested hills, passing over rivers and by waterfalls as you wind up the mountain to arrive at the farm’s washing station. At an altitude of ~ 1900 meters above sea level, this is one of the lowest points of the farm.
Owned by our partners over at Ethio Agri-Ceft, this farm is situated in the fertile Kaffa Biosphere Reserve which is one of the few sites in Ethiopia conserved under UNESCO. The Kaffa zone is widely considered to be the birthplace of arabica coffee and is estimated to contain thousands of wild varieties of the plant.
To protect the rich biodiversity that exists within the forest, all coffee at BLCF is semi-forest grown. This allows the coffee trees to benefit from the natural features including the fertile soil from years of decomposition of plant material, the extreme altitudes and the native trees & vegetation which give each coffee growing area their taste profile.
Our personal friend, Mr. Tsegaye Regassa, has been running operations at the farm since inception in 2012, and has over 14 years of experience producing high-quality specialty coffee. For the past 8 years, the farm was only producing sundried coffee, but this all changed in 2020 with BLCF exporting their first bags of washed coffees (we purchased a few hundred bags in-support).
The farm has over 700+ employees who come from the local community; all of which are paid market wages, provided with free accommodations, meals, and access to an on-site medical facility during the harvest season. From our discussions with the employees during our last visit in December of 2020, the residency is a much-appreciated benefit as virtually none of them own vehicles and must travel long distances to the farm by foot.
The four largest ethinic groups in the Keffa Zone are the Kafficho (85%), the Bench (5%), the Amhara & the Oromo (~3.5% each). The Kafficho people only make up 1.5% of Ethiopia’s population but their roots run deep & trace back to the Kingdom of Kaffa.
The main language spoken in this zone is Kaffinono (“Kafa” for short) followed by Amharic.
Beha Land Coffee Farm is a unique plantation as they have invested heavily in their machinery to help process the coffee. This helps increase capacity & reduces the processing time by removing some of the pain-staking hand sorting methods.
Once the coffee cherries are hand-picked, they are put into the first of two machines which is a demucilager. This machine not only removes the mucilage (the outer red cherry), but also washes the coffee to produce the clean & crisp flavors that specialty coffee buyers yearn for.
To reduce the moisture to no more than 12.5%, the beans are dried in either the sun (they have ~ 70 drying beds which are 2×30 meters each) for 15 days, or by the use of an artificial air dryer. This machine works similar to a household dryer and can reduce the moisture in the coffee in as little as 24-36 hours.
Once the coffee has been dried, it is bagged with the parchment layer still in-tact and trucked to Ethio Agri Ceft’s warehouse in Addis Ababa, where it will hulled and prepped for export.