Gerbota village lies close to the town of Yirgacheffe in the Gedeo zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region. Coffee is typically grown on a very small scale in the gardens of producers, where it is intercropped with other subsistence crops. Harvests are taken to the washing station where they are dried for 15 days within the compound itself, before being brought ot the mill where selection takes place based on flavour profiles, qualities and processing.
Soil and its nutrients play a huge part in the quality of coffee grown. They can be regionally specific (varying with local geology) and the soils in the entire larger Gedeo zone in Ethiopia have a high iron content. Iron is one of the micronutrients that plays an important role in the plant’s functioning. The nutrient is needed to produce chlorophyll, which is essential for photosynthesis, allowing the plant to absorb more energy from light. High iron soils, together with many other factors, give the plant more energy to grow and produce the cherries. Deep soils allow for the development of an extensive root system, meaning that the coffee plant can get more nutrients and moisture from the soil. A deeper root system also means stronger and taller trees. Soil depth also dictates the soil moisture storage and nutrient storage capacity. Deeper soils naturally have more nutrients and moisture available for the plants growing in them. Plants obtain nutrients through air, water and the soil.