Ethiopia is regarded as the birthplace of coffee. The legend of Kaldi, the goat herder that allegedly discovered the effects of the bright red cherries growing wild in the Ethiopian forest, is pervasive. The legend likely bears some resemblance to the truth despite the dramatisation added in the telling of the tale.
The fact that Coffee is native to Ethiopia is indisputable, this becomes clear when one walks into the famous forest coffee plantations. Growing happily amongst the native forest are the healthiest and happiest coffee trees you’ll see anywhere in the world. Organic production is widespread in Ethiopia where in many countries this is completely unviable due to pervasive disease. It may be the diversity afforded by the forest-growing environment slows the spread of disease. There are many
contributing factors to the uniqueness of Ethiopian coffee ranging from the growing systems to the diversity of varieties. The result is a country filled with coffee that is of some of the best quality in the world.
Buno Coffee Trading is a relatively small exporter who manage 7 washing stations located in the area of Guji in Ethiopia’s southern region. Very high terroir at well over 2000 masl and an abundance of relatively young, healthy trees whose maturation is gradual, means ideal conditions for producing outstanding cup qualities. Producers in the area grow their coffee around the lush forests on the hills and village outskirts under the shade of indigenous trees like Cordia Africana, Acacia and Albizzia.
Buno was established in 2018 and is managed by Mr.Abiyot who oversees the selection of partner farmers, the processing of cherry and the drying practices. Buno is focused on working with farmers with between 8-15 hectares of land which makes quality improvements easier to manage and ensures that produced volumes of cherry can be separated into single producer micro-lots. To ensure that farmers wait to pick only fully ripened cherries, Buno pays farmers a premium of one birr for every kilo delivered after the harvest. Additionally, Buno provides a credit line to farmers during the off-season for harvest related expenses. The loan is then deducted from their payment upon cherry selection, interest free.
The cherry selection we have witnessed at Buno’s sites are by far the best we have seen in Ethiopia. One of Buno’s sites, Dikitu, has 120 raised beds which is are exclusively for processing natural coffees.
15 farmers contributed to this lot who, on average, have farms 7.5 hectares in size. The farmgate price paid to them for their coffee was 50 Ethiopian Birr per kg of cherry.
Coffee in this area grows under a canopy of native shade trees such as acacia and wanza. The local soil is volcanic fertile red soil and deep sandy loam.
The washing station was established in 2005 and has been managed under Abiyot Boru for 10 years.