Nano Challa Cooperative is located in Western Ethiopia in the Jimma region, just a few kilometers up the road from Yukro Cooperative (a coffee we will be releasing later this year). Until the last decade, this area (including Nano Challa) mainly produced low-grade, dry-processed coffees. Gera was known for amazing honey that tasted like jasmine, white tea, and citrus (sound familiar?). Their coffee, however, was being traded simply as a commodity. In 2010, Nano Challa was among the first cooperatives in the area 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 exquisite quality. We visited the cooperative a few years back and were 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. The result is a very clean cup with notes reminiscent of their honey….jasmine, white tea, and citrus.