Region: Yirga Cheffee
Farmer: Smallholder with average farm size of 1.5 acres
Varietal: Ethiopian Heirloom
Altitude: 1875-2050 meters
Proc. Method: Fully Washed-Dried on Raised Beds
In the Cup: Heavy Body, Creamy, Rich
A handful of years ago, the Ethiopian Government implemented an initiative requiring all Specialty grade coffee to be sold through the Ethiopian commodities exchange. The politicians had many reasons that made sense to them at the time which included full, accurate, and timely payment of all taxes and export duties as well as timely payment to the farmers. The problem was the government didn’t fully understand specialty coffee and the unforeseen consequences. I should say unforeseen by the Ethiopian Government as the Specialty Coffee Industry anticipated the issues that became immediate reality. Without premiums being paid for quality and the homogenization that occurs with a commodified products, the quality of one of the worlds most respected coffee declined to fall below most specialty buyers minimum standards. The once powerful Ethiopian Specialty Coffee industry was on it’s knees thanks to the short sighted strategies of their government. Since those first few years, there has been some changes. The Market Exchange continues. The quality of the exchange coffees have dramatically improved. We continue to purchase this predictably excellent Yirgacheffee from the Ethiopia Specialty Coffee Exchange as we remain unconvinced about tractability in the Ethiopian Market as a whole.