Washing Station: Biloya
Producer: Various local land holders
Region: Kochere, Gedeo Zone
Altitude: 1900-2200 MASL
Varietal: Various local types
Coffees from the Kochere region of Ethiopia are amongst the finest on Earth. Here, the plants grow under a semi-forested shade canopy at some of the highest altitudes in the country.
The smallest of Ethiopia’s administrative divisions is the kebele, an area of land home to at least 500 families. Biloya is one such kebele, part of Kochere and a few miles to the south of Yirgacheffe. The Gedeo people of this region tend to small plots with an average of 1 hectare dedicated to each family’s farm.
While the Gedeo share similarities with the larger Oromo cultural group, they have their own distinct language. The hills in the area are naturally forested and endemic trees provide the shade needed to ensure the Arabica varietals that grow here thrive. Coffee is often grown alongside other crops such as banana, teff and corn.
Biloya washing station processes nearly 1 million kilograms of coffee cherries each year from 211 contributing smallholder producers. 138 raised drying beds cover the 2.5 hectares of land. When ripe cherries arrive, they’re hand sorted and prepared for processing during which the skins of cherries are removed using a pulping machine and water. The mucilage around the parchment is then removed during fermentation. Once this is complete, the parchment is washed with clean spring water to remove all traces of fermented mucilage. Biloya’s workers turn the coffee by hand as it dries, taking 10-12 days for its moisture content to reach 12%.
While most Ethiopian coffee is bought via the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX), recent government reforms have allowed larger farms and co-ops to market and sell their coffee directly to consumers, resulting in increased traceability and fairer pricing.
FOB price: AUD/kg $10.50
C-market price: $3.2
Fair Trade minimum: $4.53
2.3x higher than the Fair Trade minimum.
To learn more about Transparency in coffee pricing and why it's so important, check out our Transparency Project.