It's so rare to know the farmer when sourcing coffee from Ethiopia. A few months back we had a farmer reach out to us explaining the work he and his family are doing in Ethiopia and wanted to send us a bag of their coffee to sample. To our surprise it was tasty.
In the Cup
Peach, Candied Citrus, Lavender, Jasmine, & Silky Body.
The mission behind this family's farm is truly unique and we are so glad to have partnered with them. The goal of Abana Coffee is broken down in three parts.
Fair Wages & Respecting all partners
We treat men and women equally. Not only pay fair market wages to all of our permanent workers and day laborers but we also pay for continuing education. Incentives are paid to best performers. At the end of each harvest year we pay 1 months salary to all permanent workers as a bonus. My personal first hire was Tujuba in 2011. He is an amazing, brilliant, and ethical young man who now is the assistant manager of the Abana. He is well respected by our team. Just a few months ago he earned his MBA from Walisso University which Abana paid for. Which I joke with him, he is more educated than me.
We have approximately 30 children of our permanent workers at the farm. Abana supplies them with all of their school supplies, books, and uniforms. We also provide a welcome packs for families that have babies that are born at the farm, which happens more often than you might think.
Staple food items are subsidized so workers wages can take them farther.
Coffee Education and Training
This pertains to our farm workers and staff. We do have rough plans in the future to work with small hold farmers in this capacity and do much more. They could benefit from a much more detailed training on crop maintenance and management then just selecting, harvesting, and processing.
Several times throughout the year, we do special trainings for all of our workers dealing with coffee plant maintenance and care. Such as, teaching about proper pruning, weeding, planting etc. We have created posters in 3 languages to emphasis cherry selection detailing the different colors to look for and which to avoid. During harvest this education is much more frequent as there are literally bus loads of workers that come to our area for harvest only.
Preserving the forest
In our remote area cooking happens on open wood fired. Simply put deforestation is common and we don’t deforest. We try our best to maintain a health 70% canopy over the farm. Some areas are much easier to maintain than others. When we build our roads we take extra cautions to limit the trees that have to be taken down. Some areas need to be populated with more trees so we plant indigenous trees like the Acacia, Sesbania, and even fruit barring trees such as Avocado, Papaya, and Kishta (a local and absolutely delicious fruit). Our farm is incredibly bio-diverse. We take great pride in the fact that we have tons of wildlife birds, mammals, reptiles sharing the space with us. To protect the forest and water supply we built a cement walled lagoon for our processing waste; this is uncommon in our area. We use effective microorganism to neutralize the coffee waste (balance its pH) so it does not damage the eco-system as it reenters the environment. Once this water is treated it is extremely nutrient rich and acts as great fertilizer as does the pulp once it breaks down. We also utilize a water efficient Gaviota 2500 wet mill and a water recycler for our floating chamber. This greatly reduces the amount of water we use.
Though it may not seem to be a big deal, trash disposal is something we have spent a lot of time on. We have supplied trash bins through out the farm and created posters with visuals in local languages to stress the point. This becomes more challenging during harvest since the volume of folks at the farm triples. Though it is not intuitive in our area, we perform routine cleanings and talk about why it is important to keep the environment free of garbage.
Medical Projects & Infrastructure
As I’m sure you can tell we are super passionate about coffee, processing methods, varieties and more. None of this would be possible if we weren’t producing great coffee. One thing that makes Abana a bit different is we use coffee as our vehicle to be a positive and contributing part of our community. There is no shortage of difficulty or bureaucracy that we have to work through to get these projects done, but we believe its worth it. We facilitated several medical projects such as free cataract surgeries and dental procedures for those who live in the 30+ villages that make up this Woreda. We are working on another cataract surgery project in the coming year with the likelihood of 3 eye surgeons participating. This free project will be held as in past years at the Gera Health Clinic who we’ve partnered with for over half a dozen projects.
Tens of thousands of our coffee seedlings have been donated to local small hold farms as a means for them to make a living for their families. We share our power source free of charge to 65 families who live across the road from us. Presently we are in the process of getting 150 wheelchairs to be brought to Ethiopia (hopefully by Oct-Nov) and distributed through the Health Clinic to the needy and disabled in our community.