Falcon Coffees

Origin

Ethiopia

Population

96,500,000 approx

Altitude Range

1400 - 2200 masl

Notable Coffee Growing Regions

Sidamo, Limu, Jima, Lekempti, Harrar, Yirgacheffe

Total Yearly Production

6.7 million (60kg bags) (2015/16 - ICO)

Processing

Natural, Washed

No. of coffee farms / farmers

700,000 smallholder farmers

Average Farm Sizes

0.5 hectares

Harvest periods

October - April

Per Capita Consumption

2.3kg per annum

Whilst several nations lay claim to ownership over coffee’s origin – most notably Sudan and Yemen – it is widely accepted that Ethiopia is the natural birthplace of coffee. Generally speaking, it is the town of Kaffa – from which coffee derives its name – that is attributed with the discovery of coffee and it still grows wild in the area’s mountain forests. Research suggests that coffee was originally consumed as a foodstuff, ground raw and blended with animal fats, before the advent of roasting the beans over the fire in skillets and brewing with water. The earliest substantiated evidence of coffee drinking traces back to 15th century Sufi monasteries in Yemen and coffee’s journey during the 16th century – first within the middle east, Perisa and northern Africa, then onto the Balkan countries and Europe via the famous ports of Mocha, Jidda and Constantinople – is largely attributed to Sufi Pilgrims who advocated it to communities they travelled amongst.

Today, coffee is an integral part of Ethiopia’s national identity, permeating customs, folklore and modern-day rituals alike. It also contributes substantially to the country’s GDP, making up 28% of the country’s national yearly exports and directly or indirectly providing livlihoods to approximately 15 million people.

Ethiopia is the largest coffee producer in Africa and in the Arabica league is third in the world, with a production of between 4 and 5 million bags. Ethiopia produces a wide range of coffee, with each region’s production having very distinctive characteristics, making some of these the best and most sought after in the world. Ethiopia benefits from optimum growing conditions found throughout the country, with altitudes ranging from 1200 to 2750 masl, yearly rainfall of around 2000mm and temperatures fluctuating between 15 and 25C. The mountain ranges found in Ethiopia maintain tropical cloud forests, whilst there are also sub-tropical areas and a cool zone. The diversity of the country’s climate and varied elevation leads to coffees from different regions holding their own unique characteristics. Amongst these, the key producing regions include Harar, Sidamo, Yirgacheffe, Limu, Djimmah, Lekempti and Bebeka.

Coffee in Ethiopia has been traded on the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange since 2008. The ECX was established to create a new market place which served the needs of all of the actors involved in the coffee supply chain, from the farmers to the final consumer. Previously, only a third of all the agricultural products produced in Ethiopia reached the market due to the high costs and risks involved with trading. There was no assurance of product quality or quantity which meant buyers would only trade with suppliers they knew and trusted. This resulted in many of Ethiopia’s agricultural producers becoming isolated from the market, forcing them to sell their produce to the nearest buyer, and leaving them unable to negotiate on price or improve their market position.

With the introduction of the ECX, coffee exports in Ethiopia have become centralised, enabling more smallholder producers to have access to the global market. Ninety per cent of all the coffee produced in Ethiopia now moves through the ECX where it is cupped and graded according to flavour profile and quality.

This system seems to have been successful in giving more smallholders access to the market and can result in some really consistent stand out lots with incredible flavour profiles. The downside for the specialty buyer is the inability to access information about the precise origins of the coffee. Coffee moving through the ECX is marked generically for export based on the grade and quality, making it impossible to know which smallholders have contributed towards the lot you are buying. In some cases, for example, the final container lot being shipped can often be an amalgamation of coffees from around 2000 smallholder farmers.

Specialty Ethiopia Offers

COMMON VARIETALS:

The Mamo Family is a second generation Ethiopian green coffee exporter founded in 1972. For fifty years Addis Exporters has serviced high quality clients in Asia, Europe, North and South America and the Middle East. Falcon will work with no other partner in Ethiopia.

Nonprofit organization that for forty years has developed business solutions to poverty by linking people to information, capital and markets. Falcon Coffees and Technoserve partner in Ethiopia, allowing thousands of small holder farmers to participate in much higher values for their coffee crops.

Ethiopia: Social Impact

Through the purchase of our Ethiopian coffees, we are supporting the ‘Girls Gotta Run Foundation.’ GGRF is a non-profit organisation that empowers girls in Ethiopia through running and education. The UN Population Fund identified that early marriage is the most prevalent factor in cutting short the education of girls across all regions in Ethiopia. Although the government has outlawed marriage before the age of 18, 24% of girls are still taken out of school and married by the age of just 15. While most girls supported by GGRF do not become professional athletes, some do and the training given allows the girls to stay in school and avoid early marriage and pregnancy. In turn, this can enhance their personal economic opportunities and gives them a safe space to develop their sense of community, leaving them better equipped to face the challenges posed to them during their most vulnerable years.

GGRF provides ‘Athletic Scholarships’ for girls entering secondary school, these include the following:

• Full scholarship to attend secondary school including healthcare for the student and her mother, daily meals, uniform, books, writing materials, tutoring, access to school clubs and library, showers and space to wash clothes on a weekend.
• Completion of the GGRF/CCL Life Skills Curriculum, developed to create safe spaces for girls and provide experiential learning modules on family planning, financial literacy, HIV/AIDS awareness, nutrition, healthy relationships, leadership and creative expression.
• Running clothes, shoes and healthy snacks for the year.
• Entrance and transportation to Ethiopian races throughout the year.
• Oversight of a coach and academic mentor.

So far since 2006, 50 girls have been supported by GGRF and are challenging some of the social and cultural norms in Ethiopia by continuing their education at university. In 2015/16, Falcon directly contributed $10,000 to GGRF from coffee purchases and a charitable donation. We are so pleased to be able to continue our support of this fantastic organisation going forward. If you would like any further information about the GGRF, please visit their website.