This intense and funky coffee is from the Atehu Farm in the northern Ethiopian region of Amhara. It is a single estate Grade 1 coffee and offers something a little bit different to the usual Ethiopian coffees.
About the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange and Traceability
For many years, Ethiopian coffee, some of the best in the world, was for the most part untraceable.
Starting in 2008, Ethiopia began the centralization of all coffee exports through the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX), where the coffees were ‘anonymised’, stripped of any information other than region, in the interest of the farmers, who were meant to receive top dollar for quality regardless of the ‘name’ of the washing station or farm. Coffees moving through the ECX were (still are) delivered to certified coffee labs, where they were cupped according to profile then graded and marked generically for export. This ‘equalising’ measure certainly benefitted some producers, but it had the negative impact of eliminating most roasters’ and importers’ ability to provide accurate information on the precise traceability of coffees. Even after the opening of the ‘second window’ (devised for direct sales of cooperative and certified coffee), as of the end of 2017, some 90 per cent of coffees still moved through the ECX.
The end of March 2017 saw a huge overturning of this mandatory system. In a bill raised by the Ethiopian Coffee & Tea Development and Marketing Authority, Ethiopian coffee (even that sold through the ECX) can be marketed and sold with full traceability intact. The aim is to limit black market dealings, to demand higher prices and to enable Ethiopian producers to share in a greater piece of the pie.
In a bit more detail, the new system allows any exporter with a valid license to sell directly to buyers without placing the coffee on the ECX first. There is a slight caveat – the parchment coffee will have to be sold within three days of arriving at the processing plant in Addis. If it is still unsold after three days (which is quite likely), it must be sold through the ECX: BUT with its traceability info intact rather than being deleted. Additionally, it is proposed that overseas companies will be able to plant and sell coffee, though this is still undetermined as of 2018/19’s harvest.
Update: As of September 2019, The Ethiopian government and the European Union have officially announced the beginning of a €15 million five-year program, designed to boost the Ethiopian coffee sector. The program, named EU- Coffee Action for the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (EUCAFE), focuses on Ethiopia’s primary growing regions, namely; Oromia, Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples (SSNPR) and Amhara. The project aims to tackle a number of objectives, including; food security and health for vulnerable populations, improving farmer access to credit, technical assistance and inputs, marketing and strengthening premium market channels, climate change mitigation and involving more women and youth.
- Country: Ethiopia
- Region: Amhara
- Altitude: 1,750 metres above sea level
- Varietal: K1
- Processing: Natural & dried on raised African beds
- Farmer: Jemal Ahmed
- 19g in
- 40g out
- in 30 – 35 seconds
- 60g per litre
- Steep for 4 minutes
- Stir and scoop off the crust
- Wait a further minute for grounds to settle
- Either pour slowly without plunging using the lid as a filter or
- Gently push the plunger the bottom and pour slowly.
- ENJOY YOUR COFFEE