Farm: Various smallholders
Region: Jimma, Oromia
Farm: Finca Santa Lucia
Tasting notes: Blood Orange | Apricot | Peach
The farmers are paid about 16.5 birr per kg, plus dividends.
This is well above the going rate in Ethiopia.
Duromina produced 12 containers this year, an equivalent of between 3600-3800 60kg bags or between 216 and 220,000 kilograms of coffee!
Our price, after permits, export fees, and shipping was $4.25USD/lb.
What we hope you remember:
Duromina is the name of a washing station in the Oromia zone of Ethiopia, and is managed by the Keta Mudaga Co-Operative, which broke away from the dominate Oromia Union in 2016.
Since 2008, coffee was traded on the Ethiopia Commodities Exchange (ECX), the country’s market for all commodity products which was composed of both private and public interests. In many ways, this system made traceability all but impossible, reducing information to region.
However, there are other ways to purchase coffee, and Shared Source chooses instead to purchase directly from Keta Mudaga manager Asnake Knight, without intermediary exporters. This way, coffees can be cupped and selected for export down to specific lots and harvest dates
Duromina and its associated washing stations like Hunda Oli (coming soon!) are Technoserve supported co-ops, which means they operate using eco-pulpers. This reduces water waste from somewhere in the range of 60,000 gallons a day to approximately 8,000 gallons a day
Farmers are paid for cherries at a rate of 14 birr per kg, with a 2.5 birr per kg bonus being paid after sale of their coffees and are also beneficiaries of dividends divided by the co-op amongst all producers when all sales are finalized.
Ethiopia Commodities Exchange
Ethiopia’s coffee market is exceedingly complex and we don’t attest to understand it in totality, but will offer the little information we do know to be true for a clearer picture of the industry.
About Duromina and Keta Mudaga Union
Keta Mudaga broke away from the Oromia Union in 2016 and now represents only a handful of cooperatives, which allows them the opportunity to have a more hands on connection with management and processing. Asnake Knight has been very focused on going around the traditional ECX in order to get better prices for the producers bringing coffee to KM washing stations. In this way, they operate in a more direct way as although we still aren’t buying from a single producer, they’re able to purchase from a manager who has producer interest at heart and spends more effort in tracing these coffees and also creates a better margin for all included.
Duromina is made up of 276 male and 53 female members. Each farmer is typically managing a farm of .5-1.5 hectares (very small producers) and are located within 10 km of the washing station. They bring their coffee down in cherries on foot or by mule and are paid 14 birr per kg the day after delivery. This is an important point because the reality is that producers in many countries are often not given cash in hand at moment of sale.
They also receive bonuses at two further points in the season. A 2.5 birr per kg bonus is paid to every farmer after the coffee has been sold and then after all taxes are paid and profits calculated, a share of these is return as dividends to the producers meaning that every producer can buy shares in the co-operative and receive these dividends. Last year, 3 million birr in dividends was paid out to Duromina shareholders. Having this subsequent bonus is also incredibly helpful as it allows for them to be paid in more than a single installment.
Created in 2008, the ECX did succeed in boosting the Ethiopia coffee market as the amount of traded coffee blossomed significantly, however, it also completely erased any semblance of traceability, reducing coffee to regions only and left most buyers only able to know what a coffee would taste like after it was purchased.
This meant that if buyers were purchasing in auction, they’re best bet to get the coffee they actually wanted relied on an insider knowledge in the form of someone telling them at X time on X day, their lot would be being bid on. By no means a comforting thought!
As of 2018, the ECX has made changes in order to increase traceability. By making the systems electronic, they’re able to attach data to each product including where the coffee was grown based on district and washing station while also offering better physical data Ike cup score, moisture content and water activity of coffee. They’ve also updated their scoring system to ensure better replicability of scores and to be more accurate to the true quality.
That being said, there is also a growing movement to simply avoid the ECX altogether. As it is legal for private estates and cooperatives to export their own coffees, coops like Keta Mudaga are able to side step this market as long as they can connect directly with buyers.
There’s a very interesting future unfolding in Ethiopia! It could very soon be the case that not only can we get traceability down to single producers or very small washing stations, we could also see the emergence of single varietal lots. This is a whole other topic in Ethiopia coffee, in which the sheer genetic diversity of the country’s coffee crops and the lack of research on these varietals has led to the common form of sale being as Mixed Heirloom, a blend of varietals sorted by screen sizes for consistency but unlikely ever a single varietal lot!