The Testi West Arsi Washing Station was established in 2010 and serves about 850
smallholder producers in the area. The farmers deliver their cherry to the washing
station, where it is depulped, fermented for 24–48 hours, and washed before being
dried on raised beds for 12–15 days.
Coffees in Ethiopia are typically grown on very small plots of land by farmers who
also grow other crops. The majority of smallholders will deliver their coffee in
cherry to a nearby washing station or central processing unit, where their coffee will
be sorted, weighed, and paid for or given a receipt. The washing stations serve as
many as several hundred to sometimes a thousand or more producers, who deliver
cherry throughout the harvest season: The blending of these cherries into day lots
makes it virtually impossible under normal circumstances to know precisely whose
coffee winds up in which bags on what day, making traceability to the producer
difficult. We do, however, make every available effort to source coffee from the
same washing stations every year, through our export partners and their
connections with mills and washing stations.