Ayla Washed, Ethiopia - Filter Roast
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ALTITUDE 1950-2,050m above sea level
Ayla is a privately-owned washing station that is located in the Bensa woreda (administrative district) in Ethiopia’s Sidama zone. It is located in the kebele (local village) of Bombe. The washing station is one of twenty owned and managed by Testi Coffee, a family-owned company founded by Mr Faysel A. Yonis. The washing station is named Ayla after one of Mr. Faysel’s nieces.
Sitting at 1,950m above sea level, Ayla produces exceptional washed and natural processed lots using the nearby Bonora river as its main source of fresh water. During harvest, freshly picked coffee cherry is delivered daily by some 700-800 independent outgrowers. The majority of the families who contributed to this lot farm organically on tiny plots of land, which average just 1-2 hectares in size. Coffee is their main cash crop and grows alongside food crops of corn, grain and bananas, under the shade of native Birbira, Wanza, and Acacia trees. The average elevation of the farms in this region is very high – around 1,950–2,150m above sea level – and this, combined region’s cool temperatures, is ideal for the slow ripening of coffee cherries, leading to denser beans and a sweeter, more complex cup profile.
This coffee has been processed using the washed method, using clean water from the Bonora river. It is classified as Grade 1, the highest quality classification for Ethiopian coffees, indicating a great deal of effort has been put into the selection and grading during processing.
Each day, carefully hand-picked coffee cherries are delivered to the Ayla washing station and are meticulously sorted by hand and in a floatation tank prior to processing to remove unripe, overripe, or damaged fruit, in order to enhance the quality and sweetness of the cup.
After sorting, the coffee cherries are then pulped within six to eight hours of harvesting, to remove the fruit and skin and graded by weight; heavier beans are of superior quality and deliver a sweeter cup. After grading, the parchment-covered coffee is soaked in tanks of clean water for 36–48 hours to remove the mucilage (sticky fruit pulp) by allowing it to ferment and detach from the coffee.
The coffee is then re-washed and graded again by density in washing channels and soaked in clean water for 12 hours. While doing this, mill workers keep a close eye on the clarity of the water being used (and replacing it with fresh water as necessary), and check the parchment manually of feel how much mucilage is left on the beans. As the feeling of the washing changes, and millworkers notice slightly more traction, parchment is just about ready to be dried.