Washed Sidama Bensa Shantawene

Bucharango, the sage of Shantawene mill.

Bucharango, the sage of Shantawene mill.

Watermelon candy / kiwi / strawberry-rhubarb jam / Granny smith apple / oolong tea

SNNPR Region
Sidama Zone
Bensa District
Shanta Wene Village
Shantawene Mill
ECX Classification - Washed Specialty, Q1

-1500 Producers
-2000-2300 MASL

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Bursting from of the mountainside, just a few kilometers from the town of Daye, is the spectacular scene of a waterfall. Perhaps it is a natural expression of the coffees we find in this area. They are some of the most vibrant and dynamic coffees we have ever tasted.

Venturing a few more kilometers down a rough dirt path, we arrive at a tiny village, known as Shantawene. It is here we find the namesake mill, seated at the foothills of the Bombe Mountains. This special place is home to some incredible coffees. With all the attention to detail of the sister Qonqona Mill, the location is a steady 500 meters higher in elevation, and the farms that bring cherries to this mill are situated between 2000-2400 MASL. This high elevation and mineral-rich setting makes for dense, well nourished coffee. The varieties are the same as Qonqona - Walecho and Michicho - and it is apparent how much this coffee thrives in its natural habitat. 

Here at Shantawene, we find a 5 disc pulper, with a solid cleaning regimen, scrubbed and polished each batch. The coffee then enters fermentation, which averages 34-72 hours, depending on cloud cover. From here, the coffee is scrubbed with wooden rakes in washing channels and then transferred to raised drying beds, where it dries to a stabilized moisture content of about 11% in roughly 13-16 days. 

Shantawene also produces exceptional quality, special prep natural coffees. However, this year we wanted to focus on the outstanding washed coffee coming out of this mill, ensuring that we have solid process controls that will enable us to move forward with intentional care on natural lots. This year's offering is dynamic with forward notes of peach soda, watermelon jolly rancher, kiwi and strawberry-rhubarb pie.

The communities surrounding Qonqona and Shantawene mills are very close. The mills are within 3 km of each other. This makes for unique opportunities for the benefit of the entire area. For example, as economy builds in the community, people have access to micro finance. This opens doors for new crafts and skill building. One such opportunity lies in the construction of an Eco Lodge. We have been invited to partner in the construction and implementation. The lodge is being built in the heart of a coffee farm. The idea is to promote Eco tourism into coffee lands and provide a foundation of progress and experimentation with the coffee farm, which will be equipped to sell and export coffee directly. The doors that such a project will open for the good of the greater coffee industry aside, these projects will provide jobs and creative outlets for close to 1,000 people. Needless to say, we are thrilled with these relationships and look forward to many years of collaboration. 

- Michael McIntyre