This coffee arrives to us from a brand-new washing station called Kumudu, in the venerable Gogugu kebele (neighbourhood) of the Uraga district. I say “venerable” because this absurdly high-altitude region has been producing some of the most dense and complex coffees in all of West Guji, which is a giant area!
The area of Gogugu had so much potential that Negusse Debela (see more about Negusse below) decided to invest in building a new washing station there. As I expected, the quality coming out of the site is exemplary right out of the gates. Last year, we bought coffee from Gogugu from a site owned by Kedir Jabril. And this year, I would say that this offering is already a step up!
The Kumudu washing station is managed by Assefa Negusse, and credit to him for a well-processed first harvest!
The station is owned by Veer Trading PLC, which is a sister company of Snap Specialty Coffee. With a background as a computer trading company, Snap is quite new to coffee. It’s impressive to see that in only 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 (compared to me ;-), but that’s really his advantage as he’s full of passionate zeal and boundless energy. He has a keen understanding of quality and the factors affecting it, and undoubtedly, he’ll be leaving a major mark on the Ethiopia Specialty Coffee sector in the years to come.
I’m sad to have missed two years of visiting Ethiopia in 2021 and 2022 (so far) but I’m also very grateful for the relationships I’ve formed over the last decade of visits every season, which I’ve been able to lean on to ensure we continue to have access to great coffee in Ethiopia. I had to miss my visit last year not due to the pandemic, but due to a full out war which has been waging in the northern region of Tigray since November 2020. Tigray is a region that borders the northern country of Eritrea. The brutal war caused a full-on humanitarian crisis in the area. It’s heart-wrenching to learn about the acts of brutal violence which have occurred in a country I love dearly. Thankfully, in March/April 2022, the Ethiopian government declared an indefinite humanitarian truce. This is clear progress but reconciliation between the government and Tigray leaders will be a long road ahead.
So, as I enjoy this coffee and am very grateful for the efforts and care of the Ethiopian hands involved, I’ll reflect on these challenges facing Ethiopia and my hope for their peaceful future.
As always, this green was frozen immediately upon arrival.