This lot of Limu coffee comes to us via the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX), the government trading system set up to connect non-cooperative farm members to the global coffee market. We've discussed one downside of this system, which is that we really have no idea where the coffees coming out of the ECX originated. After the cherry is purchased from the farmer, it's graded, blended, and sold off. But this isn't such a bad thing, at least in this case. I mean, we do love a good story, but in the case of Ethiopia, a collector system dominates, one where hundreds of farmers are delivering coffee to either cooperatives, Unions, or the ECX, where they all grade and blend by region, and sell it with names referring to region, washing station, or simply grade (like the ECX - in this case "Q1" ). With each of these systems the individual farmer is hardly in the actual "picture", and most of the focus is put on the organizations they deal with. In the case of the ECX, it's a very straight-forward system, and one where farmers are paid cash upon delivery. For many farmers, this is a good thing, as they're able to immediately reinvest. And for us as buyers, we know how much money the contributing farmers paid were for this particular grade of coffee - it's all very transparent. This coffee story is much less romantic than those involving farm visits, family dinners, and the like. But the common thread lies in the confidence we have that the premium we paid was included in the payment these farmers received. Oh, and the other commonality is that we purchased this lot because it's of the "top shelf" variety!