416 small holder farmers sell coffee cherry to the coffee washing station (CWS). These are truly small holders owning only 100 trees or so, near the village of Harsu.
As is abundantly clear from our Ethiopian offerings the last few years, I’m in love with the coffees from the district of Uraga (in the zone of West Guji), and it’s where I spend most of my time on my trips to Ethiopia. Sadly, 2021 broke my 9-year-streak of annual visits to the great country of Ethiopia, but I’m holding out hope for a visit at the end of this year, or early in 2022.
Over the last few years, Uraga has slowly become the powerhouse of Southern Ethiopia, producing some of the most fragrant and complex coffees of the region. As mentioned, this CWS is owned, operated and managed by Feku Jabril. Feku is truly a unique producer. He owns three CWSs, which is not uncommon, but what is unique is that he manages all three of them himself. So, while most CWS owners live in either the larger town of Dila or in the capital, Addis Ababa, Feku is right in the mix running the show. He is the single most consistent producer I’ve observed in Southern Ethiopia, and I think it’s the combination of know-how and personal investment that is his secret weapon.
Feku and the exporter of this coffee, Snap, have a very close relationship. Their partnership helps ensure quality through the milling and exporting process, which is imperative to the quality being intact once the coffee arrives in Calgary.
With a background as a computer trading company, Snap is actually quite new to coffee. It’s pretty impressive to see that in a few short years, they’ve ascended to contend for a top spot amongst the quality specialty exporters in Ethiopia. I believe that the explanation for this rapid development lies in the union of excellent capitalization and the expertise of a few passionate coffee people. Credit belongs to entrepreneur Negusse Debela for his willingness to invest in washing stations and a dry mill, right off the cuff, with the belief that “if you build it, they will come.” On the coffee quality side, much credit belongs to Abenezer Asfaw, the supply chain manager for Snap. Abenezer is only a young man, but that’s his advantage. He’s full of passionate zeal and boundless energy. He has a keen understanding of quality and the factors affecting it. Undoubtedly, he’ll be leaving a major mark on the Ethiopian Speciality Coffee sector in the years to come.
This green was frozen immediately upon arrival.