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Oromia and Sidama Cooperatives

Yirgacheffe & Sidama, Ethiopia

Ethiopia is known as the birthplace of coffee - and they know how to grow those beans! Our coffee comes from the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, made up of 34 member coops spread throughout the central plateau of Yirgacheffe and Sidamo. 

We worked with Oromia to bring the first ever Fair Trade, Organic Ethiopian into the U.S. When I brought back roasted “Oromia Blend” to the farmers, they went wild! Few had ever tasted their own coffee. They were very proud (and let me sleep in the former Emperor’s bed!). 

The beans are picked from wild-looking trees hidden in lush forest. They have the unique fruitiness and slightly earthy tones associated with fine Ethiopian coffees.

There are several amazing growing regions in Ethiopia. In the northeast of the country is Harar, a very arid region in a very arid country. The coffee grows in the hills surrounding the ancient walled city of Harar, where medieval trade routes from the south and north met. Many farmers in Harar dry their coffee inside the cherry, rather than stripping the cherry fruit off first (largely for lack of water to process). This is called the "sun-dried" method. This type of processing tends to result in a fruitier cup. Hara is known as one of the milder, softer Ethiopians.
Checking dry beans
In the south lay the regions of Yirgacheffe and Sidamo. This is where coffee was originally found by the goatherd Kaldi, who watched his goats prance crazily after eating red berries off of a bush. Yirgacheffe is one of the most prized coffees in the world, noted for its citrus and lemony tones, as well as its floral aroma. This Yirgacheffe and Sidamo regions intertwine around various mountain passes, and the coffees are often indistinguishable. Sidamos tend to be a little milder or smoother than Yirgacheffes. Other, less popular coffees from Ethiopia include Limu, Jimma, Bebeka and Lekempte.

Our Ethiopian Coffees

People-Centered Development Projects

Fighting Cervical Cancer: (2014-ongoing)

  • working with Grounds for Health to develop a community-based cervical cancer detection and treatment program
  •  As of 2019, 12 communites reached, 14,000 women screened and 1,500 women treated
  •  Funding commitment to date: $125,000

Bringing Clean Water to Coffee Communities: (2008-2012)

  • "Miriam's Well" - built a water tank and well for easy access to clean water in a remote coffee village
  • Funding committed: $10,000

Getting water from new well

Education Program:

  • constructed new classrooms and hired qualified teachers

Ethiopian Trademark Initiative:

  • created a workable, fair trademark license to prevent abuse by large companies
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