Bombe (or Abore) washing station is named after Bombe mountain in the Sidama region, which is located south from the washing station. The Bombe site is the culmination of several years of hard work and preparation from Sidama coffee man Asefa Dukamo and his family, who have been our close partners of Catalyst for a number of harvests. Each year working with Asefa, Catalyst has had the privilege of promoting ongoing traceability efforts. At first, regional mixed lots, then individual washing stations, then certain groups of smallholders within each lot separated by village. All that was missing was a dedicated site to allow the partnership to become even more focused. Enter Bombe Station!
Starting 2017/2018 harvest, producers from the Shantawene, Bombe, and Keramo communities delivered their very best cherries to the Bombe site, where they were separated into specific fermentation tanks and drying locations. The layout and good management of Bombe washing station allows for special processing techniques, such as shaded fermentation tanks and washing channels as well as mesh shaded drying tables, to be used with the coffees. The wet mill is well-organized and run by a team including member Atkilt Dejene, a female agronomist who has also worked with the award-winning Gesha Village project, among others such as processing specialist, Eyasu Bekele, whom we worked with for the Reko Koba project several years running. The volume capacity at Bombe washing station is at max 2.5 million kgs of cherries, but for the past couple year, this site has maintained a strict dedication to producing outstanding quality above quantity.
In 2015 we were introduced to Michael and Emily from Catalyst as friends of the Cameroon Boyo project. Back then we always had the idea of working more closely with Ethiopian coffees. We had the chance to follow their work, and after testing out several Ethiopian lots, we decided to import our first container in 2017. The work they achieve with specific washing stations fits in the vision from The Coffee Quest to integrate traceablility, collaboration and quality into the supply chain. Visits to Ethiopia have only confirmed the progress they are making! As direct partners they provide the missing link in terms of cultural understanding and local efforts to provide consistency in quality, with the added bonus of receiving Organic certified lots and crazy honey processed coffees.
Catalyst purchases 100% of the coffees from Asefa’s Bombe site. This gives them a unique opportunity to co-labor, integrate direct investments from customers, and build the future within a partnership. Countless hours are spend planning and training the talented coffee professionals in Daye. Sami, the site manager, and the rest of the Bombe team work hard on isolating day lots and implement meticulous methods for keeping track of the information on each lot. Catalyst tells us there remains a lot potential in expanding the efforts to isolate day lots, and moving forward to keep most them seperated. Each group can therefore provide different lots per process. Beyond these investments, the Bombe site is planning to install a Penagos Eco Pulper (Colombian), for which funds have been raised. Implementing this will allow even greater control over the processing, through more precision in the removal of mucilage, decreasing fermentation times and significantly cutting down on water usage. In some parts of Ethiopia, implementing an eco pulper to replace the traditional disc pulper has reduced water usage by as much as 3 millon liters in the height of the season.
For the 2017/2018 production cycle (Bombe’s first!), Asefa and his team implemented drying tables with high quality shade mesh canopy for slower and more gentle drying of the cherries. Every single Natural from this site in 2018 was dried in this way—and those lots were extremely limited! The extra expense is really worthwhile: the shade-dried naturals have enhanced sweetness and fruit juice character in the cup. Broadsheet Coffee in Massachusetts won a 2019 Good Food Award with the one of the natural processed micro-lots from this site’s first production, while Still Vibrato in Oregon won as wel l with a washed micro-lot from the same site, different village. Many other awards have been received already by these coffees, including the natural Keramo, which won the gold medal in the Single Origin Espresso category of the Golden Bean 2018. Now it’s time for European roasters to work with these lots!
Local variety setami, mikicho, 72/158, 74/110
Washed, honey & natural