Gedeo Zone, Ethiopia
The Gedeo zone in the southwest of Ethiopia, is the homeland of the Gedeo people. Lying about 369 long kilometers from Addis Ababa on dusty and often difficult roads, this zone occupies a narrow strip of the Ethiopian highlands on the Eastern Escarpment and includes the town of Yirgacheffe itself. Gedeo is bordered by Sidama on the north, and encircled on the other three sides by the Oromia region.
In Gedeo, Yirgacheffe, there are 15 washing stations and approximately 25,000 local coffee smallholders. Here the soil is loamy, red-brown, fertile, and coffees carry strong fruit tea notes along with crisp apple and stone fruit. Approximately 95% of these coffees can be considered as organic, though not officially certified. While farmers across the globe still practice this method of letting the coffee fruit dry like raisins around the seed, it all started in here. It’s still common to see smallholder farmers drying their daily harvest on their porches or lawns across the country. Unlike much of the rest of the world, many of these farmers will then roast and grind their own harvest – Ethiopia is the world’s only coffee producing country whose volume of consumption equals its export.