COFFEE PROCESSING STATION - RESEARCH AND CONSTRUCTION
Water saving in coffee processing is a crucial aspect of sustainable coffee production, especially in regions like Sheka where water resources can be limited. An existing 150ha -partly wild- coffee farm is extended in Sheka, a biodiversity rich + protected area in SW Ethiopia. The 5-year plan includes landscaping, building additions and long-term healthier living + job stability in the community. UF is set up to be a ́resources trading platform + training ground for locals and visitors: coffee growing concepts and techniques are exchanged to conserve biodiversity and knowledge of endemic life. Three types of climate-responsive architectural interventions (local techniques, new arrangements) are included in the building to upgrade the living conditions and buffer the moist Afromontane climate. UF engages in experiments in holistic coffee farming to generate additional income - deeply rooted in the understory of the coffee forest. Coffee processing typically involves several stages, including harvesting, pulping, fermentation, washing, and drying. Implementing water-saving techniques throughout these stages can help reduce water consumption, minimize environmental impact, and improve the overall sustainability of the coffee industry. Following strategies were employed: Introducing efficient pulping technologies that minimize the amount of water needed significantly reduces water consumption. Our Eco-friendly pulping equipment helps separate beans from cherries with 20 times less water usage. Permanence in a volatile environment: a safety net In Sheka's community, 9 out of 10 incomes are related to coffee: yields + international pricing. UF expands employment opportunities by diversifying its production: trainings, meeting spaces, bio dynamic farming for profit (compost, wild honey, candles, perfume, mushroom farming, carbon farming); as well as skill improvement in building techniques (masonry, clay wall techniques, bamboo weaving); nutrition (added gardens, separate kitchens), extending skill sets each season. Construction time takes over after harvest season each year from February to May to secure employment, before the heavy rains from June to September will turn everything moist. Additional spaces are conceived to put training + education at its center (tool kits, learning equipment) for each sector. Buffer zones: three climate-responsive architectural “add- ons Typical for the moist Afromontane climate (40-270mm monthly rain fall) are diurnal heavy rains + a strong afternoon sun drying the grounds before the cold night with temperatures below 10°C. Three rules are introduced to new additions to increase health + living standard for the staff at a minimal impact: a) a SW facing warm-wall (traditional mud + grass technique) that collects + stores sun rays to release the warmth at night; an additional heating device is built from clay + bricks in common spaces ; b) tarp and metal roof extension (commonly used for community events) to maximize a covered outdoor space for daytime activities, but minimize interior spaces (=reduced materials + costs by about 44%). c) borax-treated bamboo partitions, sourced from nearby farms, for separations + shades. Forest resources: waste into energy While the trend in Ethiopian coffee farming is cutting traditionally 300 shade trees/ha down to 20/shade trees (often also replacing endemic trees with exotic species), Shekas UFarmers are preserving deep-rooted knowledge of conserving species, ecosystems + pristine natural habitats - vital for the value chain + flavor palette. Understory Farm promotes a unique gene pool for crops like Enset or Arabica coffee: to encourage a wider range of visitors + eco-tourism on a long term; to grow additional value chains within its community, energetically independent (off-grid), using large scale biomass transformation to use less resources and produce more value.