BEHIND THE CUP
What do Bentley Motors and a GOOD LIFE COFFEE have in common?
You might say that it's in having a sense of good taste that makes one stand out in style amongst peers.
And you'd be right, but the devil is in the details, a lot of hard work and drive goes into the excellence of farming coffee at altitudes as high as 2300 metres above sea level.
Wolichu Wachu, a splendidly named washing station is a farmer co-operative built by Harso Haru in 2017 that benefited from sophisticated design insights in speciality coffee production.
Why do we say this?
First of all, we have expertly positioned intakes at the top of a small incline and placed subsequent processing steps further down the hill.
The washing station takes advantage of nature's laws and uses gravity to increase Walichu Wachus overall efficiency.
At the bottom of the hill exist spacious, and well-organised drying fields, ensuring equal and predictable sunlight exposure.
Thanks to this ingenious design layout, the station does not need the pumps that many older stations use to move coffee through the processing infrastructure.
At the top of the station, an intake of coffee cherries gets pulped with a density grader that separates light from dense cherries. The lighter lower grade cherries are processed separately.
The denser coffees' are wet fermented for 36 to 72 hours. The parchment of cherries' travels further downstream into more washing and grading channels to be separated again according to density.
The densest of these coffees' will then ferment for another 8-12 hours before making their way down to the drying fields.
The parchment of coffees' rests for a day for pre-drying tables to drain excess water and allowing inspectors to detect and remove any defects in wet parchment.
After a day or so, the parchment of coffees' is moved further downfield onto raised beds. They lay to dry for up to 12 days and turned at regular intervals to ensure they all dry evenly.
All you need to know is the region around Wolichu Wachu is now prime coffee growing territory. Wolichu Wachu gives 4,500 small-holder farmers many of them with less than half a hectare of land the opportunity to produce the best Grade 1 coffees' and provide for the family.
This naturally processed coffee has got everyone from team Good Life Coffee in a spin. We've cupped more Ethiopian coffees' than we can count, but this coffee can wow you day after day.
"The policy was simple," Walter Owen Bentley said. "We were going to work hard... and make the best in its class."
We like to think of Wolichu Wachu as no ordinary Bentley coffee but one with a big fermented note on the nose, rich and creamy to ease you in gently.
Stone fruits and sweet citrus under the bonnet, an engine purring perfectly with hazelnut notes and fresh floral flavours arriving beautifully balanced, yet leaving with a pleasing in the cooling.
For the budding home barista who loves coffee in comfort, with Wolichu Wachu you can now smile again.
NOTES FOR GEEKS
Varietal: Bourbon, Typica
Elevation: 2100-2300 masl
Producer: Various smallholder farmers delivering to Wolichu Wachu washing station
Region: Uraga, Guji
SCA Score: 87