We’ve been lucky in the last few years to have been working with the Duromina co-operative, based in Agaro, Jimma Zone, Ethiopia. The coffees produced by the co-operative are incredible, but it is only within the last 7 or 8 years that this potential for high cup quality has been realised.
The NGO ‘TechnoServe’ helped set up the coffee washing station with the goal of improving the lives of local smallholder farmers. In providing a facility to properly process their coffee cherry into exportable green seeds, the coffee is now sold for much higher prices than in previous years. The smallholders who supply coffee cherry to the co-op tend to trees which are a mixture of native heirloom varieties, and grown at high altitudes, often above 2,000m. Historically, post-harvest protocols in Jimma have been very rustic, resulting in coffee with a lot of defective flavours. The co-op itself is now focussed on producing quality coffee and therefore follow stringent standards on cherry reception, as well as using a Penagos Eco-Pulper, soaking tanks and raised beds to process and dry the coffee in such a manner that we can taste the unique characteristics of the region in the resulting cup.
Co-operative members will receive a secondary payment after they have been paid for their coffee cherries when the resulting lot is classified as a Grade 1. Discerning coffee buyers pay more for such coffees, and a good percentage of the premium paid will go back to the smallholders. As well as paying the farmers, the funds from selling coffee are reinvested into the coffee washing station infrastructure and certain social projects that benefit the local community, such as building roads, constructing schools and working on clean water projects. At the washing station the wastewater from processing, although vastly reduced through using an eco-pulper, is filtered through vetiver grasses and treated in soak pits before being re-introduced to the local water table.
It is really interesting to try coffee from Jimma, compared to more known regions like Sidamo and Yirgacheffe, and we always experience a deeper and more concentrated character that reminds us of the syrup in a tin of tropical fruit, compared to more ethereal aromas and citric acidity. It makes for a really satisfying filter coffee and a super fun espresso option.
Agaro, Jimma Zone, Ethiopia
A really fun espresso with lots of sweet tropical fruit flavours, including guava and tinned pineapple. Notes of liquorice and hops add structure to the cup.