Built in 2001, Biloya washing station processes nearly one million kg of coffee cherries per year from 211 contributing smallholder producers. 138 raised drying beds cover the 2.5 hectares of land. When ripe cherries arrive, they are hand sorted to separate the less dense cherries.
Coffees brought to the Biloya washing station are grown between 1700-2000 meters above sea level. There are several tiers of drying tables on the slope below the washing station and Biloya’s workers turn and sort the cherries by hand as the coffees dry on raised beds. The mesh material allows for airflow both above and below the coffee to prevent the formation of any mildew or mold. It takes between 18 and 21 days for cherries to dry. Naturally processed coffees are milled to remove the dried cherry pulp and parchment at once, then stored in a warehouse 50cm from the wall and 15cm from the floor before transport to the final processing warehouse in Addis Ababa where it is color sorted and packed for shipment.
Biloya employs both men and women and the 211 smallholders delivering cherry to Biloya grow coffee on farms that average roughly 0.5-2 hectares in size with common shade trees Bibira, Cordia Africana, and the subsistence crop Ensete ventricosum.
Coffee from Biloya is prepped for export at Tracon Trading’s coffee cleaning and storage plant on 30,000 sq meters of land in Addis Ababa. The plant is equipped with modern Pinhalense coffee processing machines and a Buhler Z+ color sorter. The machine has the capacity of processing six tons per hour. All the processing jobs are mechanical and electronic including final hand picking on conveyor belts. The six storage silos of the plant have a capacity of accommodating about 15,000 metric tons of coffee at a time. The warehouses are clean, with ample lighting and ventilation, which are very ideal for keeping the quality of the coffee.