I’ve been tracking the quality coming out of Lalesa for a few seasons now, and it’s been really impressive, but this season it is really elevated. I’ve haven’t yet visited the site directly, but I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the Gedeb district over the past decade. I’m excited to bring you this floral and juicy coffee this season!
The site is owned and run by Alemayehu Tilahun who has a vertical integration agreement with SNAP trading, the exporter for this coffee. Alemayehu grew up in the of Gedeo zone, which gives him a distinct advantage of knowledge of the area, and of course the Gedeo language!
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 former supply chain manager for SNAP. Abenezer has since moved on to start his own coffee exporting business called Origin Land, but he leaves behind a legacy of infrastructure that continues to allow SNAP to produce and export top quality.
I was delighted to return to Ethiopia in January 2023 after three years away. It was perhaps my most memorable trip, as I had missed all of my friends and colleagues. I was also greatly concerned about their well-being. Ethiopia faced Covid, like everyone else, but on top of that, there was a civil war in the north of the country. It was truly awe-inspiring to see how everyone I ran into in Ethiopia had handled both, adapting to these challenges and focusing on progressing quality and building their businesses. The reality is that volatility is the baseline of normal in Ethiopia, and perhaps this equips them better than the rest of us to handle it!
As always, this green was frozen immediately upon arrival.