This year, we were given the opportunity to support and be a part of a new and unique Ethiopian project: small- to medium-sized farmers, who previously delivered cherries to the Cooperatives in Yirgacheffe, have constructed micro–mills with the support from micro financing organizations, the government and the Yirgacheffe Cooperative Union. They are now able to produce, sell, and export their coffees directly as Single Estate Coffees. We truly believe this pilot project can change the way some of the Ethiopian specialty coffees are produced and traded. We currently have coffees from three great farms in our portfolio.
“One Farmer, One Roaster”
The man behind the program, Tekle Mammo, has been working with coffee growers all his life. He took the initiative and called the project “One Farmer, One Roaster”. He started this project in 2011 together with Yirgacheffe Union by convincing three small farmers in Yirgacheffe to take a loan and invest in hand pulping machines for washed coffee.
It was a success: at this point there are several farmers taking part in the project, and most of them have invested in and constructed proper micro-mills where they are able to produce washed coffees based on the same quality standards as the most successful cooperatives.
Direct trade and financial support
There is still a lot of unrevealed potential both in terms of volumes and processing for these producers. They still need money to invest, build warehouses, have guards on their property, build drying tables and more fermentation tanks, etc.
We are adding 1 extra USD per kg for this coffee that will be handed over directly to the farmers next year. It is earmarked for investment in equipment that will help the farmers to develop and increase both quantity and quality. The prices for these coffees reflect the extra effort, risk and investment taken by the producers.
The money after cost of production and export fees goes entirely back to the farmer. Our goal is to link roasters to the farmers and give them exclusive rights in their home market or country to that specific farm in the future.
A unique opportunity
Yirgacheffe is known for its complex, floral and acidity-driven coffees. The farms are located in the most interesting areas in Yirgacheffe, with altitudes up to 2000 meters above sea level. Normally the coffee cherries from the farms and micro regions in this area would be blended at the wet mills with cherries from hundreds of other farmers.
In this case we have the opportunity to buy coffees from specific areas from farmers that are able to pay extra attention to picking, ripeness, processing and drying.
The coffees are also dry milled privately and we are able to follow up and do extensive sorting and grading prior to export. We have been physically present during this process to make sure the preparation is done according to our specific standards.
Please stay tuned for more information — if you have questions, you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org