007 - Mate Matiwos
007 - Mate Matiwos
007 - Mate Matiwos
007 - Mate Matiwos

007 - Mate Matiwos

Regular price$45.00
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This is a pre-order: We expect that this coffee will be roasted the week of July 21, 2024. You will receive a notification when your order ships.


The companion to AVIARY#005, this is the second of our smallholder washed coffees from the 2024 harvest in the Southern highlands of Ethiopia. This coffee from 2024 Cup of Excellence #2 winner Mate Matiwos, processed using a hand-pulper and a protocol devised by Christopher Feran—is exclusive to Aviary and layered with complexity, presenting with notes of lilac, yuzu, peach and hints of blueberry.

From Christopher: "I first visited Mate Matiwos's drying station in Keramo Soto in 2022. He wasn't there—but his eldest son, Mamush Mate, was. They didn't have any coffee to sell, and we spent more time visiting than we should have—partly because we were taken by the waterfall adjacent to his land on the Geta river, and partly because the hope of what Mamush promised on behalf of his father: that he had a higher elevation site, in Keramo, and that next year, he would sell coffee from there to us.

"A year later, Mate's farm was one of our last stops on the way out of Bensa. We'd spent the week with the larger group of Bensa producers Crop to Cup purchases from, planning the year's projects—such as buying hand pulpers for Bekele Belaychow (of AVIARY#005) and Basha Bekele—but I was eager to see Mate's farm at nearly 2300 meters, planted just 5 years ago with variety 74158.

"Walking his farm in Keramo, I made an immediate request to Moata: 'Could we get another pulper for Mate?'

"Because washed coffees in Ethiopia must legally be exported, we guaranteed the purchase of any lot processed using the pulpers we provided. This lot was the result of Mate's first attempt; because the machine needed to be adjusted and because the coffee wasn't agitated sufficiently at the end of fermentation, more mucilage remained on the coffee in the first run through the process than we intended. Moata observed that it looked more like a black honey and isolated the lot, keeping it separate through to milling.

"The resulting 59kg of green coffee—a fermented, washed-style black honey—is exclusive to Aviary. Because of the small size of the lot, it was milled and sorted for defects by hand.

"We never tasted the coffee before it arrived to us in May 2024 via air shipment; we bought it sight unseen, cup untasted—based purely on our knowledge of the producer, his farm and confidence in the protocol. I couldn't be more thrilled with the result: a complex, tangy, vibrant cup with notes of rosehip, lilac, yuzu and peach with underlying hints of blueberry."

Read the blog post to put this coffee into context.

This is a coffee with limited availability (~54kg) and is only available in 200g boxes.

This coffee will be roasted the week of July 21, 2024

TASTING NOTES: Lilac, yuzu, peach and blueberry
ROAST:
Quite light—profiled to showcase complex, structured acidity supported by juiciness.
ACIDITY: Complex, structured and high intensity acidity
FUNK: This coffee to be quite clean—I'd give it a 1/10 on funk (just in case "yuzu" or "blueberry" are danger words). Nothing soury, rotten, sharpie, or otherwise "off" about it.
FOR FANS OF: Bright, expressive and fruited washed Ethiopian coffees; smallholders; accidental great ideas

FARMGATE PRICE: This lot was produced with cherry from Mate Matiwos's farm and was self-exported
FOB PRICE: $6/lb
LANDED PRICE: $11.05/lb

This lot was produced with cherry from Mate Matiwos's farm and processed using a GEM Hand Pulper purchased by Crop to Cup Coffee. The costs associated with the production of the coffee after growing primarily include picking labor, processing labor, transportation and milling costs as well as financing.

As the exporter of this lot, Mate received payment in USD for the purchase and received 100% of the FOB value.

Typically, smallholders-exporters like Mate will also produce lots using cherry collected from outgrowers; this results in a financing bottleneck for their businesses. Crop to Cup pre-contracted coffees in addition to providing the hand pulper as a way to help Mate secure bank financing ahead of his harvest and produce as much coffee as possible from his farm and outgrowers.

At the time of contracting, the cherry price in the South was 38-43 birr per kg—higher than in the west, but lower than last year (60-65 birr per kg). In 2022-2023, to ensure he had enough coffee to export to cover his contracts and expenses, Mate had to increase the price he paid for cherry and offer a second payment of 1-2 birr per kg upon export—practices more common to Technoserve-style coops in the west than private collectors or smallholders in the south. A year later, he continued this practice.

Inflation reported by the government was 28%, but most people suggested it was higher locally; this required borrowing more than the current pricing in order to be viable through the end of the export cycle, three months after harvest. The exchange rate in December 2023 sat at roughly 56.31 birr per USD through banks and 95 birr through the black market—an improvement over 2022, when black market rates of 113 birr per USD due to the foreign currency shortage. The current disparity indicates that while foreign currency is more available than in previous years, financing remains inaccessible, making provisional contracts like those supported by Aviary's purchasing critical for the production of smallholder coffees. Local interest rates typically require 14% interest over a 1-year period for export working capital; this is far better than the 18% interest rates offered by private export companies.

Because cherry prices were lower, the birr was stronger, and inflation had (somewhat modestly) softened, minimum government registration prices for export also were lower in 2023; the price paid to Mate Matiwos for this lot, which exceeded the price paid for the other microlots he produced, represent a substantial premium over current market prices.

At normal performance, a cherry price of 41 birr per kg means that, as green coffee, the cost of raw material was $1.99 per pound, before costs associated with labor (to collect, sort, and turn coffee), materials (shade net, drying beds, etc.), financing (to purchase cherry and carry the costs until payment at export), and milling. The price Mate received for this coffee—$6 per pound—is substantially higher than the government’s $3.86 per pound minimum export price (which larger exporters sold for) and nearly $4 above the C-market price at the time of contracting.

Through the import program this year, Crop to Cup offered an additional incentive for coffees that landed scoring over 87.5 points as well as with low quaker counts, adding an additional $0.05 per pound premium to this coffee.

The very high delta between FOB and landed price can be explained both through an increase in financing costs for 2023-2024 as prime rates increased over previous years; payment to CoQua, Crop to Cup's exclusive partner in Ethiopia; and transportation. As a result of the Red Sea shipping disruptions, which have impacted the availability of containers and timing of shipments from Djibouti, Aviary elected to use air freight for its Ethiopian coffees this year. It's not something we're excited about; the carbon emissions of airfreight are substantially higher on a per-pound basis versus ocean routes. The uncertainty surrounding shipping this year has led to delays in payment—since typically exporters are not paid until export—which means that smallholders continue to carry financing for an indeterminate period, risking losses and bankruptcy as their coffee sits, meanwhile degrading in quality and value. To protect both the representation of this year's work as well as to expedite payment and foreign exchange, we elected to ship this coffee via Ethiopian Airlines and receive it in May 2024 rather than via the ocean and receive it in August, September or October.

JARC variety 74158 grown using organic methods at 2250-2300 masl in Keramo, Bensa, Sidama; selectively hand-picked and sorted for ripeness; floated; pulped using a GEM 1-disc hand-pulper into plastic drums; floated; fermented under clean water in shade for 48 hours, mixing every twelve hours; agitated to loosen mucilage; drained and dried on raised beds under shade for 25 days.

This coffee is unusually dense and also roasted very light; I recommend resting it for at least 4 weeks from its roast date for filter brewing (6+ weeks would be optimal) and 6-10 weeks for espresso-style preparation (though you may wish to try it earlier to enjoy how the coffee changes and opens over time). Our experience with a similar coffee (AVIARY#005) was that at 3-4 weeks the coffee was floral-dominant which turned into a sweet, integrated and fruity cup at 60 days post-roast.

As filter, I prefer a ratio of 1:17 using low-agitation methods of extraction resulting in 22-23% EY.