Ngelle Gorbitu produces around 60% washed coffee and 40% natural using 109 staff for the former but increasing their numbers with an additional 50 in order to maintain the quality for the natural. The cherries require regular turning in order to maintain an even speed in drying and stop any over fermented notes in coming through – and this translates as hands-on labour on the raised beds to do this. The 858 smallholders that form part of the co-op pick ripe cherries and bring them to the centralized washing station for processing and bagging in parchment. This is then rested before being dry-milled and bagged once sold, in to 60kg bags ready for export.
Located just over the border from the Gedeo zone, but still within the Yirgacheffe woreda, the cooperative has a shared nursery with Homa, at times being home to 230,000 seedlings provided to maintain crop quality and increase production; trees are often pruned or replaced every ten years or so, and like any farmer the crops benefit most from being planned ahead of anticipated demand.
The fairtrade premiums that the coffee has earned them have been used to build medical centres and a school for the whole community and houses for the teachers that do not live nearby.