Reko is like magic to our ears. We are big fan of the coffees that come from this washing station but we prefer the more peachy Guji-1’s better. This is the first 2019 ethiopian coffee that is hitting our shelves. There were two lots but we bought a bag of this one, with notes of jasmine, peach, and tea-like, but also some citrus acidity. It has some amazing sweetness when well prepared.
Sometimes, great coffees find Trabocca, instead of us finding them. Every year, we receive thousands of samples at the Trabocca office in Amsterdam. In December 2013, during a blind cupping, we found this washed Yirgacheffe from a small washing station in the Kochere region. The coffee stood out because of its pronounced aroma of peach, mango, and other stone-fruits.
That same season, a partnership was established with Faysel A. Yonis, founder of Testi Coffee, and Masreshu Sima, the founder of the washing station. This three-way partnership proved to be a good one. We started with few containers of Yirgacheffe and developed a supply chain, using several washing stations in different regions, such as Mulish in Guji and Gora Kone in Nensebo.
Reko washing station is named after Reko-Mountain, a tall and skinny mountain that towers above the hills of Kochere. Reko, translated in Afaan Oromo, means challenge. It refers to the challenge of climbing the Reko-mountain. Masreshu and Faysel adopted the name and its symbolic value. It is their challenge to cultivate the best Yirgacheffe coffee.
During harvest, which normally takes place between late October and mid-January, about 850 farmers bring their red cherries to the washing station. The Reko washing station is an example for neighbouring washing stations, they sustain coffee communities and deliver amazing coffee, year after year. Incoming coffee is washed with water from a nearby river, after which are pulped with an old Agard pulping-machine. The mucilage is removed by traditional fermentation, which lasts 36-48 hours depending on the weather conditions. The coffee is then dried on raised African beds for 10-12 days.
According to the Reko-team, the success of the washing station is threefold. First and foremost, the training and education of staff and suppliers. A good protocol can only be implemented by equipped staff members and farmers. Testi Coffee gives pre-harvest training to all partners.
Secondly, good selection and separation; only red cherries are selected, and processed coffees are kept separate by harvesting-time (early, mid, late), and geographical area (Onancho, Debo, Shashamene, Hamma, Beloya).
Finally, monitoring and control; Reko-lots are assigned to professional site managers, whom, with their vast experience in coffee processing, control every aspect of Reko-lots from cherry to warehouse delivery, anticipating on changes and separating deviating lots.