Genji Challa Lot #31
Genji Challa (est. 2019) is a sister washing station to the famous Nano Challa (est. 2004). It was born out of a need for more space as membership grew, and volumes of cherry being delivered becoming too much for the capacity of the Nano Challa station alone. There are now over 600 members split between the two sites situated in the Ethiopian highlands.
This success and growth originates from a boost in 2010, when Nano Challa was chosen to be part of the TechnoServe Coffee Initiative (funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), alongside other remote farming communities in Jimma. TechnoServe provided technical assistance and training to producer groups, helping them coordinate agronomists and business advisors to improve coffee quality as well as assisting in the management of debt, reinvestment and the fair distribution of funds to each coop member. The impact of the initiative was huge as it helped coops like Nano Challa transition from natural processing to washed, via the building of washing stations. This allowed them to completely change the market and quality they had access to, as well as the premiums of Grade 1 Ethiopian Specialty Coffees.
Farmer members own around 3 hectares of land each, cultivating coffee at altitudes between 1850 and 2100 metres. As is the case across Ethiopia, most of the coffees grown locally are organic by default and consist mostly of old, naturally indigenous heirloom varieties, punctuated by smaller areas of an improved native varietal called 1274. Once producers deliver coffee to the washing station, cherries are floated before being de-pulped using a Penagos Eco Pulper. The coffee is then soaked in clean water in concrete tanks for 8 hours before drying; firstly skin-dried and sorted under shade, before being sun dried for approximately 10 days on raised African drying beds.