Located in the Decha Woreda of the Kaffa Zone, Chiri Cooperative provides support to a few hundred local small-holder farmers in the region. Chiri Cooperative was started in 2010 with NGO support, building a wet mill for processing coffees and providing much needed agronomical and business support to the farmers, focused on improving both coffee quality and production. In addition to this, the NGO is able to bring their coffee to the specialty market through their own union, thus garnering premiums not previously seen. Before 2010, there was no wet mill, and farmers processed their coffee naturally, selling lower quality blended coffee at the local markets for very low prices. But with the establishment of the coop and enhanced production they've seen an increase of both the income and livelihoods of local families. Like much of Ethiopia, agrochemicals are not necessary and farmers grow coffee using 100% organic methods (though not actually certified). Water for the wet-mill comes from a diverted river nearby, and all waste from pulping is reused for fertilizer. This is our first year buying coffee from Chiri.
The dry fragrance of Chiri shows restraint, cookie-like sweetness, with dried fruit and ever-so-slight floral accents. As the roast edges toward Full City fruited tones build, along with a toasted sugar/molasses sweetness. The molasses smell blooms in the wet aroma, the level of sweetness reaching its peak in the steaming crust, and peach tea and ginger cookie smells are released on the break. Chiri is a fairly straight-forward cup, the positive cup attributes right up-front at the surface. City to City+ roast level expresses honey-like sweetness and a smattering of herbal tea top notes. There's a pleasant, sweet-lemon verbena flavor in these lighter roasts, notes of jasmine pearl, barley tea, and rose hips in the background. As the cup cools, body becomes more apparent and dried fruit characteristics come into play. Full City roasts develop higher levels of fruit tones overall, flavors more in the realm of grape and ripe plum, followed by a rich (not to mention "fruited") cocoa bittersweetness in the finish. Chiri brews nicely, works great as espresso on it's own, or as a "highlight" component in an espresso blend.