Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting

Ethiopia - Cupping in Addis Ababa (November 2007)

After a week in Yemen, I had some days in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to cup at various export offices, and basically get a lay of the land. It's really too early to evaluate new crop lots in November. Harvest has began in some areas, and some early regions (ie. Limu) are in mid-harvest. So I plan to be back in mid-February to do some real cupping. But for now I get t meet some of the people I have been buying from, and get a feeling for how the new crop will be.

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Addis in the Morning
Addis in the Morning
Addis Ababa in the AM, taken from the confines of the Sheraton. It's basically the fanciest hotel I can remember staying at, ridiculously expensive, and I find it strangely ironic to be here and even think I am in Ethiopia. Nonetheless, after Yemen some time by the pool is welcome relaxation, and after time breathing diesel fumes on the street, or walking the market, a welcome respite.
Oromia Coffee Farmer's Cooperative Union
Oromia Coffee Farmer's Cooperative Union
OCFCU for short. Tim from Volcafe and I went to their cupping lab to check out some early new crop lots.
Oromia Welcome Sign
Oromia Welcome Sign
Made from laser print clippings; it works for me! This is Oromia's cupping lab but was formerly their entire office complex. I guess since their huge expansion and "Black Gold" fame, they could afford nicer digs.
Haile Gebre
Haile Gebre
Haile is the head of the Moredocofe cooperative, and has his office at the Oromia cupping labratory. We bought several Oromia and Moredocofe lots last year, from Harar and Sidamo areas. Haile is also a coffee farmer/member of Moredocofe, with land in a remote part of the Sidamo region.
Tilahun Mekonen - Cupper
Tilahun Mekonen - Cupper
Tilahun is the main cupper for Oromia farmer's cooperative union, and for Moredecofe coop. He has something like 25 years cupping experience.
Karitu Kasahun
Karitu Kasahun
Karitu is a cupper and cupping room assistant at Oromia coffee farmer's cooperative union. She is very tall and has a beautiful smile.
Tim Chapdelaine
Tim Chapdelaine
Tim is the highly energetic VP of Volcafe Specialty. They work with Oromia and Moredocofe for Organic and Fair Trade lots, and brought in some nice coffees last year.
Thompson Owen
Thompson Owen
That's me in my new $3.50 Yemeni boot-camp style haircut.
The roaster at Oromia
The roaster at Oromia
... is a 2 barrel Probat electric. The drums are smaller than my Pinhalense. I wouldn't chose electric sample roasters as my first choice, but this seemed to wrk very well.
Probat close-up
Probat close-up
This gives and idea of the roast level we were cupping.
Tilahun Mekonen , sample roaster
Tilahun Mekonen , sample roaster
Tilahun prepares some samples for Tim and I to cup. Basically, early Yirga Chefe and Sidamo coffees are in, but they are too fresh and are not from the best part of the harvest. Limu coffees come in a bit earlier and cupper a bit better.
ouch, tim
ouch, tim
Tim lost a crown, and luckily found it on the ground. That saved hime about $1200. We went to the dentist the next day to have him glue it back in. That cost about $7.00.
Karitu pours
Karitu pours
They use the Kenya method at many labs in Ethiopia... meaning that they fill the cup about half way with water, then you break the crusts, then they top it off to the rim (to the very rim- nearly overflowing), and then you finish the cupping.
tom- cupping at oromia
tom- cupping at oromia
Me, cupping a Oromia Coffee Farmer's Cooperative Union. Yes, OCFCU.
Tilahun cupping Limu
Tilahun cupping Limu
The last coffee on the bench was a very interesing natural Limu coffee.
addis street scene
addis street scene
Typical Addis Ababa street scene. Addis seems very nice, and compared to Yemen you see many more caucasoids roaming around, mostly from Europe but a good deal of Americans.
holy pastry
holy pastry
I'm not sure if holy pastry means wedding cakes, communion wafers, or maybe (literally) donuts.
Helen Butique
Helen Butique
Typical speling misteaks.
Next stop, Ambassa
Next stop, Ambassa
Funny Coffee Tree Painting
Funny Coffee Tree Painting
at the entrance, I think they ran out of room to finish the top, but the trees in the yard next door make it seem natural.
Degu Aseffa and Geoffrey Wetherell
Degu Aseffa and Geoffrey Wetherell
Ambassa was started in 1973 by Geoffrey and Degu. The government nationalized many industries the next year (1974) but coffee was never truly brought under goverment control. However, new regulations made business difficult and eventually Ambassa had little coffee to sell. After the defeat of the socialists in 1991, they restarted AMB, and built it back up.
Tim, Degu and Geoffrey
Tim, Degu and Geoffrey
Tim Chapdelaine, Degu Aseffa and Geoffrey Wetherell at the AMB office in Addis Ababa.
Sample Baskets
Sample Baskets
The hand-made baskets make good trays to sort though samples.
Kenya cupping method
Kenya cupping method
They use a Kenya method of cupping, where they fill the cup half way with hot water, wait, break the crust, then fill the cup to the rim.
4 barrel probat
4 barrel probat
They use new gas-powered Probat sample roasters (actually this is 2x 2 barrel roasters).
old probat 5 barrel sample roaster
old probat 5 barrel sample roaster
Ambassa also has an older probat 5 barrel sample roaster sitting as decoration across the way. I sure could use it!
Sample ladies
Sample ladies
I failed to get their names, but they do the sample preparation, grinding and roasting.
Others?
Others?
AMB's washed offerings
AMB's washed offerings
Washed coffees, meaning wet-processed.
frankenstein cupper
frankenstein cupper
Cupping with in our Sweet Maria's Frankenstein shirt. Kinda odd.
Sanitary Method
Sanitary Method
Tim was ill, so he cupped using the so-called sanitary method ... that means he used a separate bowl and sipped directly from it, rather than putting a spoon to his mouth.
very cool vintage coffee package
very cool vintage coffee package
An older Ethiopia export coffee bag - nice graphics!
Late Afternoon Shadow
Late Afternoon Shadow
A coffee truck loaded up, casting a long shadow, at the Ambassa warehouse in Addis Ababa
typical fiat in ethiopia
typical fiat in ethiopia
fix it again tony. there are so man older fiats here, due to the historical relation ...er, occupation ... of Ethiopia by Italy.
Another Addis Ababa Fiat
Another Addis Ababa Fiat
An older Fiat wagon in Addis.
tim chapdelaine
tim chapdelaine
tim and his morning cup, an not 10 mintues after we visited the denist to get his crown glued back in (total bill $7.00!)

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