Founded in 1975, the Konga Cooperative is located in Yirgacheffe, the most densely populated part of Ethiopia and the country’s leading producer of coffee. It began with a group of 275 women and over 1,000 men and it has since grown to nearly 4,000 members.Konga is about four kilometers south of the town of Yirga Cheffe and nearby both Harfusa and Biloya. Konga was one of the first coffee farms that I was lucky enough to visit so its quite special to me I always liked the Konga micro region of Yirgacheffee for both its strong citrus (mostly lemon this year) and supportive stonefruit flavours of tropical fruit peach and apricot and when this is combined with processing as a natural, the result is dried cherry, cranberry, and sparkling like acidity.One of the great things about Ethiopian coffees is the complete mix of varietals. It is estimated that somewhere between six thousand and ten thousand varietals exist in fact the unavirsity of Jimma holds many of these and has identified them naturally in these highlands and many other around the country .-The cross pollination of genetics is totally amazing.
Although both washed and semi-washed processes are used today, originally coffee was processed with a different approach in mind; one that didn’t require the use of machinery that was only just produced in the last couple of centuries. Thus, the dry process came about after the discovery of coffee originally in Ethiopia, and has been in use for at least the previous nine centuries.
Instead of any process that involve depulping and demucilaging, the dry process leaves the entire coffee cherry in-tact to dry in the sun, allowing the beans to draw in all the flavours of the fruit, mucilage and parchment layers. By the time the coffee is ready, its moisture level will have been reduced to 10-12%. It is a mostly hands-on method and uses very little (if any) machinery at any point, meaning that the dry process sometimes carries more risk as there is much more room for human error.
The enclosed environment in which the coffee beans inhabit due to the surrounding layer of fruit supports fermentation during the drying process. After drying the beans can be hulled from the cherry and sent off to be shipped. The main issue that arises with the use of this method is that the flavours of all the coffee beans can often be uneven, which means that stringent tasting and testing must be undertaken in order to ensure that the coffee is evenly flavoured. Often beans that all come from the same batch must be separated from one another so that only higher quality beans remain in higher quality batches.
Dry processing (or “natural processing”) can also be performed a different way, via what is called the “pasa” technique. Coffee cherries are instead left on the tree’s branches in order to ripen further and dry there, rather than requiring the use of raised beds to dry the cherries. This yields a slightly different flavour however is still notably a dry-processed coffee.
Coffees produced through these methods will have interesting and unusual flavour profiles with a heavier mouthfeel and more body, while also displaying less acidity. They also friendlier for the environment, as there is less waste produced once the final product is created.