About the Coffee
The Djimma region in southwestern Ethiopia is known as the birthplace of coffee. Farming methods in Djimma remain largely traditional. Most farmers in the region farm on fewer than 5 hectares. Cultivation methods are traditional for the most part, with coffee being grown as part of an integrated ‘coffee garden,’ intercropped with other food crops. In addition to remaining traditionally intercropped, most farms are also traditional and organic-by-default. Farmers in Djimma typically use very few—if any—fertilizers or pesticides. Most farm work is done manually and very few tasks are mechanized, even during processing.
Jimma Agricultural Research Center has played an important role in this region of Ethiopia. Its main task is to unite the farmers and provide them with education, tools and market representation. Farmers have the opportunity of transporting their coffee to the organization's washing station to be processed. In addition, JARC also conducts important innovative research, for example, develops disease-resistant and high-yield varietals.
Harvest & post harvest
Due to the size of most plots, coffee is typically handpicked by landowners and their family.
All coffee is selectively hand-harvested before being delivered to a collection center or directly to the washing station. At the washing station, coffee is sorted to remove damaged or underripe cherry. Cherry is then delivered raised beds to dry under shade for 10-14 days until moisture content reaches 12%. During this time, the cherry is regularly turned and hand sorted several times to remove any damaged or discolored cherry. This level of labor and love results in a truly exquisite cup profile.
Coffee in Ethiopia
While Ethiopia is famous as coffee’s birthplace, today it remains a specialty coffee industry darling for its incredible variety of flavors. While full traceability has been difficult in recent history, new regulations have made direct purchasing possible. We’re partnering directly with farmers to help them produce top quality specialty lots that are now completely traceable, adding value for farmers and roasters, alike.
The exceptional quality of Ethiopian coffee is due to a combination of factors. The genetic diversity of coffee varieties means that we find a diversity of flavor, even between (or within) farms with similar growing conditions and processing. In addition to varieties, processing methods also contribute to end quality. The final key ingredients for excellent coffee in Ethiopia are the producing traditions that have created the genetic diversity, processing infrastructure and great coffee we enjoy today.
Most producers in Ethiopia are smallholders, and the majority continue to cultivate coffee using traditional methods. As a result, most coffee is grown with no chemical fertilizer or pesticide use. Coffee is almost entirely cultivated, harvested and dried using manual systems.