BIFTU GUDINA COOPERATIVE
This coffee is a result of a sustainable Technoserve project in the west based on transparency and increased quality production. Technoserve is an NGO supporting the farmers in setting up washing stations and new cooperative structures. This project has revealed a new great range of coffee flavors not found elsewhere.
TechnoServe’s coffee initiative is a project measuring their success in the value and quality of the coffees produced and the farmer’s increase in their coffee income.
All cooperative members qualify for the second payment. This has so far contributed to a significant increase in payment for the local coffee farmers.
Producers: About 572 smallholder Cooperative members. They were buying cherries from non-members as well. Membership is optional. Non-members don’t qualify for a second payment.
On average, farmers have a farm size of fewer than 3 hectares. Most coffees are organic by default. Organic compost is common, pruning less common. A farmer can typically have less than 1500 trees per hectare, and 1 tree is typically producing cherries equal to less than 100 – 200 grams of green coffee.
Varietals: Mainly an improved native varietal called 1274, but also a mix of Ethiopian Heirloom. Such as native coffee of forest origin transferred to family smallholder plots.
Production: Pulped and mechanically demucilaged with a Penagos 2500 eco-pulper or a JM Estrada eco pulper before soaked in water overnight in water and sundried on raised beds.
Process: Cherries are hand sorted for unripe and override by the farmers before they go into production. A Penagos Eco Pulper removes the skin, pulp and mucilage. With this machine, they don’t need to ferment the coffee to remove the mucilage. After the mucilage is mechanically removed, it is soaked in clean water in concrete tanks for about 3- 10 hours.
Drying: Skin dried and sorted under shade for about 6 hours after soaking. After skin drying, it is moved out in the sun and dried for about 10 days on African drying beds on shade nets or hessian cloths. Coffees are covered in plastic or shade nets during midday and at night.
Biftu Gudina is a new cooperative established in 2012. They now have two washing stations under the Cooperative. That way they can access cherries from more farmers in their local surroundings. They are located in an area starting to get known for very flavor intense and spicy coffees with unique attributes. The management is strong and they succeeded in quality production from year one. A lot of the coffees are grown around and above 2000 meters above sea level. They have wastewater treatment based on Vetiver grass naturally filtrating the water from the production before it goes into the pits and finally the ground. The average farm size pr smallholder is 0,5 hectares.
Soil: Clay loam
As a cooperative, you are allowed to sell the coffees directly as a fully traceable product and can bypass the ECX (Ethiopian Commodity Exchange). They are always marketed and sold through a Cooperative Union. Generally, they will relate to the Cooperative Union representing the zone and area where they operate. Typically, a Cooperative in Limu is sold and exported by the Limu Union, In Oromia the Oromia Union, Sidama the Sidamo Union and so on.
This is basically how the supply chain works for the Cooperative coffees:
– The family members of the smallholder farmers are picking small amounts of coffee that they will sell and deliver either at a collection site or directly to the washing station. They are free to deliver the coffee to the highest bidder no matter if it is a Cooperative or a private producer.
– The farmers will get paid in full based on the current cherry prices in the area that day. In many cases, the Cooperatives will pay them a dividend as a second payment when the coffee is sold at a premium.
– The Cooperative washing station will in some cases start a thorough cherry selection and sort and handpick cherries as well as flotation and screening etc if they aim at producing higher grades such as grades 1&2.
– They will process the coffee according to their production plans either as washed or natural depending on their access to water and the time of the season.
– The Cooperative washing station will deliver the dried parchment to a local ECX warehouse that will grade the coffees accordingly. There are many different grades such as Grade 1 – Grade 5 depending on the physical qualities as well as the flavor profile.
– The coffee gets a ”label” based on the region and the quality before it’s offered directly to buyers through the Cooperative Unions.
– After grading the Cooperative Unions will in most cases move the coffee to their position in Addis Ababa or other warehouses they might use.
– The Cooperative Unions will offer us samples to cup after they have stock lots in their position. Generally, they offer lots to cup in 100 bag chunks. And we can pick and choose coffees among different Cooperatives Washingstations from one Cooperative Union.
– Managing lot separation, great processing, and transparency are key when we select our Cooperatives and producing partners.
To be as much on top of things as we can we have our country manager Seife Tuloskorpi full time on the ground and a partnership that gives us the opportunity to manage a cupping lab with three members of staff in Addis. The coffee buyers Joanne and Morten are frequently visiting throughout the season. Generally, this is from November through to March, at least once a month, and spending a considerable amount of time understanding how the season in that given year is developing.
This involves meeting with our producers and export partners and traveling throughout the different regions during the processing, later as coffees become available we are cupping both samples from the beginning of the harvest and throughout. In this way, we can early on identify areas and wet mills that are showing potential. We cup through initial rounds of samples and make preliminary selections of the coffees that have value to us, these coffees are then cupped in a multiple further rounds. Both in cuppings showing a selection from a specific region and also cuppings where we look at all of the coffees for that period that we are buying from Ethiopia.
In this way, the coffees we decide to buy are cupped and assessed in a way that gives us good insight into the cup profile and quality, as well as the consistency of that particular lot.
VARIETIES 74110, 74112
The coffee varieties in this lot, heirloom locally selected sub-variety 74110 and 74112, were developed in the 1970s at the Jimma Agricultural Research Center (JARC) for resistance to the coffee berry disease. These two varieties begin with “74” to indicate their cataloging and selection in 1974.
Variety 74110 was selected from an original “mother tree” in the Bishari village, Metu Province, Illuababora zone, Oromia region. After researching its resistance to coffee berry disease and overall yield, JARC released the variety in 1979. 74110 trees are short and compact, with small leaves, cherries, and beans.
Variety 74112 also originated in the Metu-Bishari forest and was similarly released in 1979 for its disease resistance and yield potential. Its trees, too, are small and compact. Both varieties grow well in climates similar to those where the original mother trees grew.
Bright, sweet, and soft. Subtle layers of red fruit, citrus, and black tea. Juicy mouthfeel and pleasantly tannic. Medium and round body with a smooth, lingering finish. Flavor notes of red grapes, lime, black tea and sweet mandarin