Jacob White, green coffee buyer for PT’s and Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, recently traveled to Ethiopia to source fresh crop lots as the harvest wraps up there. We can’t wait to try the coffees he selected, but for now, here are some highlights of the trip:
For the first leg of his trip, Jacob is accompanying Samuel Demisse of Keffa Coffee. Their trip starts with cupping in Addis Ababa before heading south to Yirgacheffe.
Jacob’s first stop is Ayele Dula’s farm near the town of Gedeo in Yirgacheffe. Ayele’s farm is 2.4 hectares, planted with 7,600 trees, and produces sun-dried naturals exclusively.
This is Ayele’s second year working with Keffa. Keffa pays Ayele 60-70% more than he would make selling to local markets, with a guarantee to purchase his coffee every year. This guarantee allows Ayele to focus on producing a quality product, rather than spending time looking for a buyer.
Day three brings Jacob to Tigiste Wagu’s farm in Yirgacheffe. It’s one of the few female owned farms in the area. Tigiste’s work ethic was on display while hosting her guests, as she performed a coffee ceremony, prepped a meal, turned drying coffee cherry on the raised beds, and still had time for photos and dancing. Unsurprisingly, Tigiste’s coffees are some of the best single farmer lots Jacob has cupped so far.
Today brings Jacob to a washing station in Adola to cup various lots and to tour the processing facility. Processing is wrapping up here with less cherry being delivered every day. However, there are still (literal) tons of coffee to be dried and sorted.
Today Jacob is in Anasora visiting a washing station. This station is located 2300 meters above sea level and processes coffee from 500 small holder farms in the surrounding area. Given the high altitude, the harvest started later than in neighboring areas, meaning processing here is still in full swing. Ripe coffee cherries are delivered throughout the night. In the morning they’re delpulped, fermentation tanks are emptied and refilled, and all the while hundreds of pairs of hands sort and turn drying coffee.
On his last day, Jacob joins METAD to visit their various sites including Alaka, Bishan Fugu, Benti Nenqa, and Beriti. Fortunate to have perfect weather for the rest of his trip, today brought constant rain making travel difficult and keeping most sites closed down.
Upon reaching Beriti, the rain stopped and the site came alive. Workers took the opportunity to transfer coffee from the fermentation tanks to raised beds.
Solomon Teklemarian, Director of Operations and certified Q-grader, toured the station with Jacob. Solomon has been with METAD since the very beginning, managing quality and helping grow the Beriti site from working with 1,500 small holder farms to a staggering 5,000 farmers. Needless to say, the scale of METAD’s various projects and execution of quality speaks to Solomon’s expertise.