It is time to welcome our very first Ethiopian coffee of the season, Nano Challa. Over the next few weeks and months we will be releasing half a dozen coffees from across Ethiopia. A handful of them will be long time favorites such as Reko, Ardi, and Yukro, but we will also see some new additions to the menu that we are jazzed to share for the first time.
Nano Challa Cooperative is located in Western Ethiopia in the Jimma region, just a few kilometers up the road from Yukro. Until the last decade, this area (including Nano Challa) mainly produced low-grade, dry-processed coffees. Jimma was known for amazing honey that tasted like jasmine, white tea, and citrus (sound familiar?). Their coffee, however, was being traded simply for commodity purposes. In 2010, Nano Challa was among the first cooperatives in the area (along with Yukro and Duromina which we will also be releasing later this season) to install a washing station and begin preparing washed coffee. With a little support and training, they began producing washed coffees.
Today, Nano Challa has built a reputation for their quality. I visited the cooperative a few years back and was stunned by the amount of detail that was put into producing clean coffee. Having tasted the coffee many times since, the reputation definitely translates to the cup as the coffees have been excellent. The cooperative is made up of about 400 members who individually harvest heirloom coffee varieties that have been growing for generations in the forest that surrounds the washing station. At the washing station, the coffee is pulped and washed using a Penagos, a machine that is commonly seen across Latin America and known for using minimal water to pulp and wash coffee. Following the wash, the coffee is then soaked overnight. It then goes through the drying process, which they do just right, the way we wish all coffee was processed. The coffee is carefully moved throughout the day and dried very slowly. The members at Nano sort through the parchment thoroughly during the process, picking out the unwanted seeds, winnowing the chaff, and reserving only the parchment that is perfectly clean.
I’ll never forget the day I visited Nano Challa. Not only was I welcomed by a team of producers whose detailed work still inspires my day to day work, but I also tasted the most delicious honey. A couple days later I tasted the Nano Challa coffee. It tasted just like their honey with undertones of jasmine, white tea, and citrus. Nano Challa is a two-fold reminder of how special it is to actually taste pure terroir in coffee and, in this case, honey as well. It is invigorating to taste these clean, genuine flavors and it reinforces our love and appreciation for all the hard work it takes to make it happen.
We have 30 bags of Nano Challa this season and expect to have it on for about 2-3 months.
C0-Founder/Director of Coffee