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Telila “Mike’s” Washing Station

People

Mike Mamo the Ethiopian American chief of Addis Exporter is a dry miller, exporter and service provider. He took over the company from his father who founded Addis Exporter 65 years ago. I met Mike in the beginning of 2020, and visited him twice in the same season. He operates his own ‘Telila’ Washing station in Agaro – Limu. Working with 50+ single farms from the Tokuma group in Agaro. 

On the Telila washing station, Mike sources cherries from the communities of Gensi Chala and Kolla, close to Agaro, Limu. We visited his station, together with our Friends of Badeta Koffiebranders and Tigershark to see the operation from Mike and his crew. The visit was late in the season. Without any coffee left, the pictures still give you can have a good impression at the extensiveness of his facilities there.

Since the liberalization of 2018, these 4 to 40 Ha farms can export directly, with the help of Addis Exporter. Next to his work in Limu, Mike also works in Guji together with Mr Ture aka The King of Guji, from “Sookoo Coffee’. The cooperation with Addis Exporter is new, but we have good hopes to strenghten the relationship. Mike’s work as service provider for with single farms is quite impressive and will allow us to improve our connection with him and Ture Waji, towards receiving amazing Guji Naturals.

Product

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Telila washing station is a beautiful little station, situated on the main road which connects The Ethiopian Coffee Institute’s Agaro testing site, with Agaro town. The station is equipped with a four-disk Agard pulper with two repasser disks, which receives regular maintenance. At its highest capacity, it can process approximately 4000 kgs per hour. The nearby river provides water for washing through the channels at Telila washing station, and coffee is soaked in soaking tanks at the end of the process. Mike dries on traditional bamboo raised drying beds in the full sun, and his crew covers the drying parchment during mid day if the temperature and solar intensity become too high.

Telila sources cherries of the variets 74210 and 74212  from the Kebele’s Gensi Chala, Gera and Kolla around around Agaro, Limu. Farms both in Gensi Chala and Kolla lie at altitudes around 1800-2200 m.a.s.l. The coffee Mike processes from these villages is mainly into washed Limu grade 1. 

This year, Mike experimented with honey processed coffee in small batches, and we found this amazing Kolla honey lot on his cupping table in Addis. As importers we respect it when a producers take a chance, and produces a new product without fully being able to predict the outcome. It’s a risk a any time, but for the Ethiopian coffee scene it’s also a very welcome deviation of the otherwise quite standard processing methods.

The washed Limu, Gensi Chala from Telila station, is a great staple first grade coffee which boasts a high degree of citric acidity. It’s sweet, clean and crisp, and very suitable for your steady assortment of Ethiopian coffee. Mike can reproduce this year in year out.

The Kolla Honey lot is an oddity this year, and only 5 bags of it were produced. It boasts the same high citric acidity as it’s washed brother, but shows a lot more complexity, sweetness a surprisingly has very nutty notes to it. We want to incentivise experimentation at Telila washing station, so we can help Mike set apart his coffee from other producers of good grade 1 washed Limu. Through the creation of an exciting assortment, we want to be able to link Telila station to many of you. Give this honey a try, and stay connected with me and Mike for the purpose of creating exciting lots through commitment and collaboration.

Price

Telila washing station works with groups of farmers in Gensi Chala, Kola and Gera and pays good prices. Mike’s washed coffee is meant to be sold in relatively high volume into market at grade 1 quality, therefor he pays a good but competitive price for the cherry. This year he averaged at around 27 Birr per kilo of cherry, and he needs around 6 kilo of cherry to produce 1 kilo of green.

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