Preferred Brew Methods

FLAVOR PROFILE: Cotton Candy, Cran-Raspberry LaCroix, Vanilla
VARIETAL: Heirloom





Catalyst Trade Relationship with Damo

Damo washing station is a newer site built by our long term partner, Asefa Dukamo Korma, with whom we have worked for years on a number of levels at several of the family’s washing stations throughout Sidama. The family acquired the site in time for the 2017/2018 harvest, when we first tasted these coffees. We exported all of the 17/18 harvest, which was a very small amount, and we are exporting more than triple for the 2019 harvest! Since it is so new to the family, the focus remains first on building quality relationships with the local producers and maintaining excellence in the process controls, before taking on any huge projects.

 If you are lucky enough to hop in a vehicle and drive from Qonqona washing station, another of Asefa’s sites where we have partnered for years, to Damo, you will find yourself watching the trees flick by and stripe your vision with the saturated sun and shade of beautiful Bensa district. Red mud hardens to livid ruts. A ping pong table under an acacia tree sends laughter and the smack of tiny balls through the open windows, along with the smell of roasting goat and berberi spices. At some point if you glance to your left, you will see a stunning brick church built in a many-sided circle, with a crinkled red roof and beautiful wooden doors depicting saints. Arches let out onto a brick veranda. Shortly around the curve, at Damo itself, you will be welcomed with smiles. 

The Damo Village washing station sits on the slopes of the Shanta Golba mountain, where the coffee cherries are gathered. One of the defining characteristics of this site is that the fermentation tanks are shaded by tin roofs, which has a twofold effect. The shade provides a comfortable environment for workers, while protecting the tanks from rain contamination during fermentation and soaking. Our partners have implemented shaded tanks at the Bombe/Abore site (also in Bensa) and the Kellenso Mekonissa site in Bule Hora, Guji. Ultimately, the process slows down the fermentation time, limiting the direct sun exposure. We find this lengthened fermentation time has an extremely positive impact on the cup quality as well, with enhanced acidity and focused fruit. The view through the posts holding up the roof is of green hills, shaded into greener hills, bumping up against blue blue sky.

Damo operates in a standard fashion with washed and natural process coffees, but is cleaner and better kept than most sites we’ve seen. Cherries are taken in a shaded hut with woven bamboo walls, producers receiving payment that is 20-30% more than the average amount. This is our policy, and Asefa is on the same page. Once received, the cherries enter their process and eventually make their way to drying beds and then—once the on-site moisture meter is used to verify the moisture content of the dried parchment and dried cherries—to the carefully-locked, very clean storehouse with its cerulean door.

When Catalyst Trade made the decision to focus our major investments at the Bombe/Abore site, we saw the potential in the Damo site as well. It is small, well managed and conveniently located in a unique microclimate to the area. These factors lend to producing stellar top lot quality coffees from already inherently good coffee varieties in an ideal area. We have implemented the same high quality mesh drying tables at Damo, along with the shaded mesh canopy for drying, as can be found at the Bombe/Abore site. Additionally, building a shade canopy over the fermentation and soak tanks allows for a tighter control over the processing. Small in total production and super focused on quality, Damo will definitely grow to become one of the best sites in the area. And we are proud to be part of that growth!