Ethiopia Damo Natural
- Region: Sidama, Bensa, Damo Village
- Washing Station: Damo Washing Station
- Washing Staion Owner/Producer: Asefa Dukamo Korma
- Varietal: 74/158, 74/110, Setami & Mikicho
- Altitude: 1969 masl
- Process: Natural
- Tasting Notes: 🍑 Apricot | 🍒 Cherry | 🍊 Blood Orange
From Asefa Dukamo Korma, (the same producer that brought us Bombe earlier this year), this coffee is grown by local farmers in a unique microclimate found on the slopes of the Shanta Globa Mountain. Cherries are brought to the nearby Damo Washing Station to be processed.
Korma’s family acquired the Damo Washing Station just in time for the 2017/2018 harvest and our partners at Catalyst Coffee have been sourcing from them since day one. Damo’s coffee output was small at first and has tripled over the past few years. Asefa’s primary focus at Damo is placed on developing quality relationships with producers in the area, and maintaining excellence in the process controls. This is our first time adding Damo to our menu, but not our first time working with Catalyst—and we’re excited to share this coffee with you.
As is Catalyst’s policy—and in line with our philosophy, too—local producers who bring their harvest to Damo Washing Station receive 20%-30% more than the average rate. We partner with catalyst because they pay premiums for quality cherries, for implementing floating tanks, processing protocols like sorting and specialized experiments, and for coffees that receive higher than expected cupping scores. This kind of business is a win-win and not only results in better quality of coffee but we believe a better quality of life for all those along the value stream.
As an interesting side note, it was only in 2016/2017 that coffee growers in Ethiopia could sell their cherries directly to washing stations. Up until this point, under the ECX (or Ethiopia Coffee Exchange), producers were restricted to selling their coffees at the local market. As a reaction to this, brokers established themselves as middle-people between the growers and washing stations and absorbed many of the premiums paid for quality, and also decreased transparency and traceability. With the liberation of the Ethiopian coffee sector, brokers are now outlawed and producers can sell directly to washing stations like Damo and can directly benefit from premiums paid for their cherries.
When cherries come into Damo, they are first inspected for quality. Accepted cherries are then hand picked—any over ripe, under ripe or visibly defective cherries are removed. After hand picking, the cherries are floated in clean water—any cherries that float to the surface of the water are also considered defective and removed. The remaining cherries make their way to Damo’s shaded fermentation tanks. These shaded tanks both protect the workers from the elements and keep rain and other contaminants away from the cherries during fermentation and soaking. After soaking, this naturally processed Damo spent 22-25 days drying on mesh drying tables—at a target of one cherry deep. As you can imagine, full fruit cherries are susceptible to spoiling as they dry. At Damo, the cherries are rigorously turned and hand sorted to ensure the exceptionally high quality that you can taste in the cup.