ethiopia behind me, kenya ahead…

I arrived in Nairobi for the Kenya leg of my trip … the longest coffee trip I have taken actually, at 20 days. It’s nice to have a travel day, some hotel time here in Nairobi, and a chance to reflect on Ethiopia. Having gone to both the West (Dire Dawa, Harar) and the South (Sidama, Yirga Cheffe) was interesting. They are so different! One thing is clear, that the crop is small in all areas, and that the new Coffee Exchange that replaces the Auctions, called the ECX, has everyone confused. (http://www.ecx.com.et/) I am not even going to try to explain it here, but the consequence is that the entire coffee supply chain is constipated. Nothing is moving; cooperatives and private mills aren’t delivering coffee, the Addis Ababa dry mills are not running, and nothing is shipping. That’s not good for the coffee either, to sit in parchment when it ready for hulling, sorting, and export. So we’ll see how it plays out in the next couple weeks, which are critical. I was able to do a fair amount of cupping of new crop lots, alongside some of my compadres, and am happy with the quality of both the wet-process and dry-process coffees. Koratie is cupping really well, and the raised-bed Harar project lots were ranging from really good to fantastic! While I have been to Ethiopia several times, it was my first real trip to the south and that leg was so rewarding. I have uploaded a few preliminary pictures to flickr (see the sidebar to the left) and am still sorting through a bazillion more.

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3 Responses to “ethiopia behind me, kenya ahead…”


  1. 1 Filip

    My friend!

    I was in Nairobi from 28-29/2 on my way back home from a wonderful field trip in Kenya.

    Where are you going?
    Tell me if you need any local contacts.

    Best regards
    /Filip (Sweden)

  2. 2 Kevin

    Can you break down this new Ethiopia Coffee Exchange system and it’s implications on specialty coffee in Ethiopia for me when you get a chance? Does this mean that the ultra-premium lots of coffee (Aricha, Beloya, etc.) availble to the masses now will essentially be “blended away” with inferior coffees once this starts happening? If so, why on earth would the Ethiopian Government mandate this? Is this a huge step backwards for Ethiopian coffee in general? Any insight would be appreciated…..

  3. 3 Thompson

    Thompson wrote:

    Can you break down this new Ethiopia Coffee Exchange system and it’s implications on specialty coffee in Ethiopia for me when you get a chance? Does this mean that the ultra-premium lots of coffee (Aricha, Beloya, etc.) availble to the masses now will essentially be “blended away” with inferior coffees once this starts happening? If so, why on earth would the Ethiopian Government mandate this? Is this a huge step backwards for Ethiopian coffee in general? Any insight would be appreciated…..

    It’s of huge concern, and the threat is that all lots will be anonymized, the relationship chain from farmer to roaster will be broken. The Unions (coops) can sell around it, as can private farms, but private mills, that produce much of the great coffee, have no loophole. I am going to write about this in an article, because it is too detailed to explain here, but the ECX is very scarey, at this point.

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