A story about a cooperative from the Ethiopian west

Next week marks the release of our first Ethiopian Coffee from the west for this year, in the area of Limu Kossa - Ethiopia Tencho Organic.

This coffee has been a workhorse for us the last couple years. A stellar shelf life in its green form, and a coffee we look forward to each harvest. It has this profile of Honey and lily - really delicate and beautiful.

Look for this coffee in cafés that serve 49th to start. We may be roasting this as an SOE as well later on. Keep an eye out!

The cooperative’s history is still fairly fresh - It was Founded in 2008 by farmers working on family owned plots in the undulating mountain ridges of the area, between 1700 and 2000 meters above sea level. These farmers produce organic coffee near the birthplace of where Coffea Arabica was first discovered. The coffee is cultivated under the natural shade of trees surrounding the farmer’s land.

*Tencho is located in southwest Ethiopia, Oromia state, Jimma Zone, and Limu Kosa woreda (meaning neighbourhood). The Tencho washing station is 67 km from the city of Jimma and 8 km from woreda capital Limu Kossa.*

Through an unyielding commitment to increasing quality, and motivated by an opportunity to increase prices paid back to farmers, the Tencho cooperative decided to work towards producing specialty coffee. TechnoServe selection criteria was met, and the community was able to construct and operate a wet mill in 2010. Prior to the introduction of a wet mill, Tencho farmers produced lower quality coffee and sold it for decreased prices determined by private traders. In fact, the whole area of Jimma had maintained a reputation of producing coffee not quite fit for export. Success stories like the one from Tencho are so important, as they bring the entire area of Jimma to the attention of international buyers as viable and absolutely delicious coffee.

This year marks the ramp down of funding for Technoserve to support cooperative societies like Tencho in the west. This isn’t, luckily, going to be a “pull the plug” situation. Tencho, the neighbouring cooperative we buy from Welinso (and others), were part of a multi year program with support from Technoserve. The scope of the support is dependent on the needs of the cooperative. In Tencho’s case, with the business advice, and technical assistance, farmer training, and agronomic support - these farmers have been able to increase their production and the quality of the coffee we get to share with you next week.

Perhaps most importantly, Tencho farmers are able to actually make a living out of growing coffee - something that wasn’t necessarily true previous to the group building a wet mill and increasing the quality.

Look for this coffee next week. We are dialling in the roast profile now, and it's nearly ready.