Pharmacie - Ethiopia [DECAF]
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Smallholders from the Sidamo region of Ethiopia
Washed & MC Decaffeinated
1500 - 2000 masl
Notes of Tangerine, Red Apple and Hazelnut
The Sidamo region is named after the indigenous ethnic group, the Sidama, who call the region their home. On Sidamo’s Eastern border lies the large regions of Arsi and Bale while to the West, Sidamo is bordered by Gamogofa. Sidamo lies in the path of the Great Rift Valley and thanks to this, the countryside of Sidamo is lush and green.
There are several freshwater lakes that provide drinking and agricultural water and account for the densely populated nature of this region. Many would say that the strength of Sidamo coffees lie in the regions’ diversity of profiles. The many microclimates and varying soil types lead to striking differences from town to town. But across all Sidamo coffees is a profound complexity that many attribute to the diversity of local landrace varieties.
Varieties can differ from town to town and even farm to farm where each farmer may have more than one unique variety seldom or never found outside their plot. When all these different varieties are blended at the local cooperative, the resulting blend expresses the complexity of the plant genetics in the area. Farming methods in Sidamo remain largely traditional. Sidamo 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.
In addition to remaining traditionally intercropped, most farms are also traditional and organic-by-default. Farmers in Sidamo typically use very few—if any—fertilizers or pesticides. Most farm work is done manually and very few tasks are mechanized, even during processing.
Due to the size of most plots, coffee is typically handpicked by landowners and their family.
The methylene chloride (MC) decaffeination process is relatively simple. The coffee beans are moistened with water and MC is circulated throughout. The MC binds with the caffeine in the bean and extract it while leaving most of the other flavour compounds. After the desired caffeine level is reached, the MC residue on the beans is removed by steaming them. Because MC is not naturally occurring in plants, the resulting decaffeinated coffee cannot be labelled as “naturally decaffeinated.” However, MC has been determined by several health organizations not to be a health risk in amounts under 10 parts per million (PPM). In MC decaffeinated coffee, MC remains in amounts under 1 PPM. Further, MC is highly volatile and evaporates at 40 degrees C. Considering the high temperatures of roasting (about 204 degrees C) and brewing (about 93 degrees C) it is highly unlikely that any MC remains in the final beverage.