Something we at Passenger enjoy so much about Ethiopia is the dynamic expressions of terroir that one can experience throughout the country. The famous southern coffees - Yirga Cheffe, Kochere - are famous for good reason with what can be an utterly dazzling display of floral panache and citrus grandeur. The less famed, but arguably more expressive and nuanced coffees of Guji present a depth of flavor unmatched elsewhere in Ethiopia. And then there is the West. These are coffees that veritably define elegance with florals that synesthetically hover near purple and whose elusive fruits subtly float between stone fruit and dark berries, often with a defined citrus backbone. The Passenger green buying team placed a heavy focus on the west this year. Our first Ethiopian seasonal offering of 2017, which we sold under the name Gera, was from the famed Yukro Cooperative. This, our second seasonal release, is from the same geographical area surrounding Agaro town and receives support from the same Cooperative Union, Kata Muduga. Less known than Yukro, Hunda Oli is doing excellent work in the Agaro region and in a challenging year where many of the coffees we saw were dreadfully over dried due to an ever shifting climate, Hunda Oli produced what we thought were some of the best Ethiopian coffees that we tasted of the season.
Having previously sold their coffee to OCFCU (the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union), which is utterly massive in scope, the 180-some members of Hunda Oli would have had a small voice in the sea of the over 100,000 farmers that make up OCFCU. As of August 2016 Hunda Oli joined 34 other Cooperatives to form Kata Muduga Union. This brand new union is more unified geographically and also more focused in its goals which are primarily two fold:
- To improve the life standard of member farmers by enhancing household income levels. This is accomplished by providing a direct marketing channel to coffee buyers, which can better provide a good price for members’ products.
- Return earning paid as dividend to producers from their primary cooperatives.
- 5% of the total price goes towards export related expenses,
- 5% of the total price is the Union’s commission and goes towards staff salaries, and investments intended to help the union grow,
- The remaining 90% of the total price goes directly to the coop and is distributed by the coop as follows:
- -Outstanding bank loans are paid down,
- -70% of the remaining money after paying down back loans is divided up amongst the members based on how much coffee was delivered to the cooperative,
- -30% of the money that remains after paying down bank loans is put towards social projects: building schools, constructing roads, clean water, etc.
The 2016-2017 coffee harvest season was the first time that Kata Muduga exported coffee. Navigating the labyrinth of bureaucracy that is the Ethiopian government can be challenging to say the least. That said, we are happy to announce that Kata Muduga performed wonderfully. This is in no small part due to the efforts of Asnake Nigat, the managing director of Kata Muduga. The coffee arrived on time and in wonderful condition and we are thrilled to share this excellent lot with our customers.
In The Cup
- Fresh stone fruit qualities are bolstered by a sturdy backbone of citrus in this beautiful cup that cools to reveal deeply satisfying caramel and milk chocolate flavors.
- Overseen by Mustafe Abakeno, Hunda Oli is a 181 member cooperative near Agaro town in Western Ethiopia. In addition to being the chair of Hunda Oli, Mustafe is also a chairman for Kata Muduga Union, who oversees the marketing, milling and export of Hunda Oli’s coffees, as well as the coffee for thirty-four other cooperatives in the Agaro region of Limu. Formed in August of 2016, this was Kata Muduga’s first year in operation and from Passenger’s green buying team’s perspective, they performed wonderfully.