Queen of Sheba – the Ethiopian royal beans

People

Queen of Sheba is our newest community lot of 2022 from Sidama Bensa. This lot is the result of our progressing collaboration with Daye Bensa. Together, we focus on cup profile consistency and quality. 

In Ethiopia, The Queen of Sheba is a significant figure. She was a legend known as the ruler of an ancient kingdom right where the areas of Ethiopia and Yemen are today. To the Ethiopians, the Queen of Sheba is the founder of their Ethiopian civilization, and the first ancestor of  Ethiopia’s imperial kings, known as the “Solomonic Dynasty“.

Similar to its sibling lot Iron Lion, The Coffee Quest team created this “royal lot” as we want to reflect the image of Ethiopia within. An image of familiarity and the true coffee of the Ethiopian people.

Daye Bensa is a coffee export company, founded by the brothers Asefa and Mulugeta Dukamo, in 2006.

Asefa and Mulugeta started out as coffee suppliers in the Sidama area with lots of experience. The younglings of the family, Kenean and Eliyas, also later joined the company as Daye Bensa started to grow. Now the company is with gentlemen like Kenean, schooled in the USA work in commerce and finance, and Eliyas on Quality. This high spirited family company supplies us now for the fourth year, and we are still planning on future collaborations.

Washing stations:

The company works with various communities of out-growers from whom they receive cherries. Daye Bensa works with multiple washing stations in the Sidama Bensa area, some of which are still left for us to explore. Shantewene, Keramo and Bombe were among the first stations that we worked with. 

In 2021, we undertook an expedition to cup multiple new and exciting stations that Daye Bensa has to offer. The Coffee Quest is proud to announce amazing new profiles under the Bensa sun from 2021: 

Hamasho: Keramo’s neighbour station, Hamasho boasts an amazing intensity in cup profile. With altitudes up to 2360 meter above sea level, Hamasho is one of our highest growing coffees.

Segera station:  This station can be found to the south east of Bombe. Here is where Daye Bensa applies dry fermentation on washed coffee lots, which creates an amazingly tropical profile of orange, passion fruit and peach. A great addition in terms of flavor diversity!

Gatta Farm: Daye Bensa runs a dedicated specialty program on this farm, called Gatta. The farm is at the heart of Shantawene Village, in the midst of natural forest and indigenous trees which they say are older than 200 years. The site is surrounded by rivers, one of which separates Shantawene from Bombe and runs from the hills above Keramo. 

The farm actively grows and processes coffee lots. This includes cherries supplied by registered out-grower farmers from adjacent villages as well. Continuing with the successful lots in 2021, in this year’s assortment we present; Anaerobic Natural, Honey and Natural micro lots of absolute pristine quality.

Product

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Queen of Sheba is described to carry a fruity profile of lemon and blueberry, built on a nice black tea note at its base. Compared to its Naturals sibling Iron Lion with an expressively juicy and fruity flavour, this Washed lot is our effort to bring in a different, but exciting taste of Ethiopian coffee.

We created the lot by selecting top grade 2 lots from various washing stations and blending it to achieve yearly consistent profiling. Queen of Sheba is also one of our highest altitude lots from Ethiopia, growing at approximately 2100 m.a.s.l.

Price

The Ethiopian specialty sector operates differently than other major origin countries. Unlike Colombian or Brazilian farmers who get paid for the parchment coffee or green beans, Ethiopian farmers receive their payment for the cherries they harvest and sell to local washing stations.

In Ethiopia during the past seasons, we witnessed the cherry prices continue to rise since the market liberalization a few years back, with the price in favor of producers.

From around 15-17 Birr/kg to 31 Birr/kg in 2021, which was €3,20 green coffee, equivalent to 4-5 kg cherry for 1 kg green coffee. For the latest harvest of 2022, cherry price now reaches 54 Birr/kg.

Planet

The Coffee Quest is happy to see that Daye Bensa is receiving cherries from producers that are mostly organic by default. The lack of access to resources in the last decades has limited the usage and application of chemical fertilizers. In comparison, in several Latin American countries there are farmers that decide to move from conventional to organic certified production to access a price premium. 

In 2020, Daye Bensa received the organic certification to start exporting fully organic crops. The Coffee Quest is following this development closely!

Other certifications held by Daye Bensa are: UTZ &  RainForest Alliance

Discover other producers from Ethiopia...

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