This coffee is near and dear to us for two reasons: because it is the first coffee we dialed-in and sold to our wholesale partners.
1) it is the first coffee we dialed-in and sold to our wholesale partners.
2) The co-op that grew this coffee has a really cool story that we wanted to share with y'all.
The cooperative that grew this coffee was founded in 2010 by a group of 133 farmers in the Goma region of Agaro Woreda.
Before 2010, these farmers were on the verge of destitution. They grew coffees that are known as Jimma 5. Coffee was originally found in Jimma, Ethiopia, but until recently, coffees from there were not sought out by specialty roasters. The term Jimma 5 refers to coffees that have all five major defects: overripe, underripe, cracked, chewed by insects, and overfermented.
These farmers live in remote areas where they could only sell to a few exporters and on what the locals call "the wrong side of the river." There was no bridge to get to the other side, so it was extremely difficult to move coffee from one side to the other. A lot of buyers would promise the farmers one price, but drop the price as soon as the coffee was on the other side of the river. The farmers would run out of options and take the new price.
They named the cooperative Duromina which means "make us rich" in Afan Oromo. Their goal was to use coffee to better their lives and community, and the experiment has been extremely successful. They worked with an NGO that was able to assign an agronomist and a business advisor to help them improve their farming practices and their bookkeeping.
Some of the best coffees in the world grow naturally in Ethiopia, so they had a bit of a head start on growing amazing coffee. Using heirloom coffee trees and improved picking practices, they'd have some great cherry, but they needed to be able to process that coffee quickly and with their own quality control. They had to take out a loan to build a new washing station that they expected to take four years to pay off. They paid off that loan the very next year. Also in 2011, Duromina partnered up with the local government to fund a road and bridge. Shortly after that, they bought an old school bus to transport the coffee.
In their new washing station, they use a small mechanical depulper, soak their coffee overnight in cold spring water and dry for 7-10 days. Their care and devotion to processing is what gives this coffee its crisp and clean acidity.
Then, in 2012, the results of their hard work became obvious when they won the African Taste of Harvest competition.
By 2014 their membership had doubled and they were looking into a second washing station, which has now been completed. Now, their looking into a third.
Members of the cooperative are paid 50% more than other farmers, and this hasn't gone unnoticed. Duromina has inspired two new cooperatives int eh surrounding villages that show a lot of promise. We're looking forward to cupping those coffees someday, too.
Process: Fully Washed