Gedebe District, Gedeo Zone
The Chelbessa coffee mill is located in the center of a bowl-shaped valley. More than 1,000 individual producers transport their ripe cherry to the mill, by foot or mule, from their farms high in the surrounding mountains. Each of these farms owns, on average, just 2 hectares, shared with their other subsistence crops and shade trees. The entire operation is managed by three siblings, the Roba brothers. Upon arrival, the deliveries are carefully sorted before washing to ensure only ripe cherries enter the de-pulper. Coffee ferments for at least 36 hours and dries on raised beds for 10 to 12 days. The extended processing time allows everything to happen more gently, creating more clarity and stability in the end product. The area surrounding Chelbessa is the birthplace of coffee. The same indigenous heirloom varietals have been growing in the same bright orange, mineral-rich soil for thousands of years. The coffee coming out of here is simply incomparable. Chelbessa is a highly aromatic cup carrying notes of bright citrus and white peach with a bouquet of white flowers. Cooling the cup develops a buttery body that with the floral aromatics, reminds us of lightly-oaked Chardonnay. This coffee is a shining example of the beautifully dynamic coffees found here, in the birthplace of coffee, full of the complex nature inherent in the first cultivations of this plant out of the wild forests. It is the perfect coffee to bring brightness to these shorter days.