Etiopia: Chelichele Anaerobic Natural


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Etiopia • Chelichele Anaerobic Natural

The sealed and oxygen-free environment encourages specific microbial interactions, resulting in bright and fruity Naturals with complex floral and citrus notes.



COFFEE GRADE: Yirgacheffe Gr. 1 Anaerobic Natural

FARM/COOP/STATION: Worka Chelichele washing station

VARIETAL: JARC varieties, Local Landraces

PROCESSING: Anaerobic natural

ALTITUDE: 1.945 to 1.970 metres above sea level

OWNER: Various smallholder farmers delivering to Worka washing station

SUBREGION/TOWN: Worka Chelichele, Gedeb

REGION: Yirgacheffe

FARM SIZE: 5 hectares on average

About this coffee

We already know that coffee transcends national and international boundaries and Worka Chelichele demonstrates just that. According to political boundaries the station is in Gedeb Woreda, but according to the congruence of microclimates and tastes the station and the delivering farms are in Yirgacheffe.

Our national partner has been experimenting with new processing methods as a way to increase value and stand out among a growing number of specialty washing stations in Ethiopia. Tracon has been trailing anaerobic fermentation with several of their washing stations in Yirgacheffe since 2015.


Farming methods in the region remain largely traditional Yirgacheffe farmers typically intercrop their coffee plants with other food crops. This method is common among smallholders because it maximizes land use and provides food for their families.

Besides remaining traditionally intercropped, most farms are also organic-by-default. Farmers in Yirgacheffe generally use very few, if any, fertilizers or pesticides. Most farm work is done manually by the immediate family.

To take advantage of the wonderful climate, Worka Chelichele provides training to help farmers produce better quality cherries. Training focuses on producers for harvesting and transporting cherries.

Harvest and Post-harvest

Farmers selectively handpick ripe cherries and deliver them to the station. At intake, employees visually inspect the cherries and accept only fully ripe ones for anaerobic fermentation. The selected cherries are tightly packed and sealed in GrainPro bags. The cherries ferment anaerobically (oxygen-free) for 18-24 hours.

After fermentation, the cherries are carefully removed from the bags and laid to dry in direct sunlight on raised beds. Workers frequently turn the cherries to promote even drying. It takes approximately 2 to 3 weeks for cherries to dry.

About anaerobic fermentation

As more producers and washing stations enter specialty coffee, unique processing methods are a new way to stand out among the increasing number of sellers. One of those newer processing methods is anaerobic fermentation.

Anaerobic fermentation occurs in sealed containers. The sealing means the microbes fuelling the fermentation quickly consume all the oxygen in the container. At that point, the environment becomes anaerobic (oxygen-free). In this new environment, the microbes that typically breathe oxygen have a harder time surviving and those that flourish on carbon dioxide (the typical byproduct of oxygen-breathing microbes) are able to dominate the fermentation.

Microbes are immensely diverse and have the potential to produce a wide array of flavours in coffee. . Aerobic microbes (oxygen-breathing) produce different flavour outcomes from anaerobic ones, so we have the potential to produce very different flavours simply by changing the available resources for microbes.


1Kg, 250gr


Beans, Ground for espresso, Ground for filter, Ground for moka


Light, Medium


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