BNT established itself as an innovator in the Ethiopian coffee world, working with Berg Wu (Taiwanese World Barista Champion from 2016) to develop their take on the anaerobic natural process through the Worka Wuri washing station based within the kebele of Worka Sakaro, in Gedeb. BNT, the owners of the washing station have the vision to be ‘leader in innovation and quality among coffee producers and exporters while caring for the environment’. Since their incorporation in 2002 they have taken steps to live up to this through not only the payment of significant quality premiums to the 750-850 smallholder farmers that contribute to the washing station, but also the construction of public educational infrastructures and facilities in the areas that they operate.
Their growth has enabled them to offer the same processing skill and quality to other nearby regions of Ethiopian coffee, where the types of bean have their own unique characteristic endemic to the area. With the disambiguation work undertaken recently for the wider coffee world, we know now that ‘heirloom’ for the Yirgacheffe area is going to heavily feature Dega, Wolisho and Kudhume.
At intake, employees at the privately owned washing station visually inspect the cherry and accept only fully ripe cherry for anaerobic fermentation. These are then placed and tightly packed in GrainPro bags and sealed shut. Starved of any new oxygen, the cherry ferments anaerobically for 18 to 24 hours.
After fermentation, cherry is carefully removed from bags and laid in thin layers on raised beds to dry directly under sunlight. Workers turn the cherry frequently to ensure even drying, until 2 to 3 weeks later the process is finished.