The Yukro Cooperative is part of an initiate that Tom and I (Aleco) began together a few years ago in Western Ethiopia. In lieu of the ECX we wanted to diversify our sources and get back to the coop level, working directly with the Unions. The program is administered by a non-government organization that not only coordinates agronomists and managers for each of the coops they work with, but also has a business adviser assigned that helps the cooperative manage their debt, re-invest in quality improvements at the mill, and verifies distribution of income to all members. This is a key position; I have never known a coop to get this kind of expert advice from outside ... not in Africa at least. A cooperative can make all kinds of quality improvements, turn out fantastic coffee, and sink deeper in debt all the while. Cooperatives often fail to return a fair and full amount of payment to their farmer-members. Often this is from poor management, and sometimes from graft as well. With this lot we can verify that the great price we paid will result in a fair distribution of funds, a better managed coop, investment in the mill, and even better coffee next year! Yukro is in the Gera Woreda within the Agaro region of Jimma, with farm altitudes between 1900 to 2200 meters. Well over 1,000 farmer members deliver their cherry to the cooperative which is then mechanically washed on a Penagos 1500 before being soaked overnight in fiberglass bin and laid to dry on raised beds.
The dry fragrance has raw honey and vanilla bean in the light roast, ripe apricot and orange flowers, with a sweet cream scent at City+ roast. The wet aroma has dark berry notes with a backdrop of sarsaparilla and brown sugar. The aromatics are sweetly fruited, more toward wild strawberry in the light roast and black berry tea at Full City level. The cup has an amazing retronasal aromatic (aromatics sensed through the mouth when the coffee is on the palate, and in the aftertaste. Again, ripe berry notes abound, along with apricot and honey in the lighter roast levels, and raisin sweetness at darker levels, with a berry tea finish. It's a complex cup that can take extremely light roasts, and shine with effervescent acidity, red berry, and apricot. It can also develop a complex sweetness at darker levels. In all cases, it's an exceptionally clean and sweet coffee.