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    Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and yet the fourth poorest country in the world. Coffee farmers live a very traditional lifestyle, farming fewer than 5 acres and living in stick houses. Electricity, running water and indoor plumbing are rare in rural areas.

              

    Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (SCFCU) was founded in 2001 to represent coffee producing cooperatives located throughout the Sidama Zone of southern Ethiopia both locally and in international markets. Today, SCFCU has grown to represent 46 cooperatives and more than 80,000 small-scale farmer families — making SCFCU the second largest Coffee Farmer Cooperative Union in Ethiopia.

      Coffees produced by SCFCU member cooperatives are shade grown in low densities under the canopies of indigenous trees and enset (false banana), a staple food crop for Sidama families. The Sidama region stretches across the rugged mountains of Bensa to the valleys of Dale and Aleta Wendo – which provide a range of quality profiles that exemplify this wealth of production landscapes. Sidama washed coffees show pronounced acidity, fruit flavors varying from red fruits to blueberry and sweet organic to tangy lemon aromas and flavors, medium body and a bitter cocoa finish. Sidama natural process (unwashed) provides a quality profile with candied strawberry or blueberry fruit flavors, low acidity and rich, full body. In Sidama regions of higher altitudes – often called “Yirgacheffe type” coffees – the coffee shows the characteristic and delicate flavors of bergamot and lemon zest.

      Coop Coffees began sourcing directly from SCFCU in 2009. Since then, we have had the opportunity to develop direct relationships with several of the SCFCU community based cooperatives over the years, including Shilcho, Homacho Waeno, Talamo, Bona, Abela Galuko and Fero Cooperatives.

      Geographic Location: Sidama Region -- Varietals: Ethiopia Arabica Heirloom -- Altitude: 1700 - 1950 meters

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      The Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperatives Union (YCFCU), located in southern Ethiopia, was founded in 2002. It has grown to represent 23 member cooperatives which includes more than 300,000 families. In this region, 62,004 hectares are dedicated to coffee alone. Grown alongside bananas and maize, forest canopy, organic fertilizers and a temperate climate produce a very high quality bean.

      Coop Coffees started sourcing from YCFCU in 2013 and has established direct relationships with some of the cooperatives including Idido, in the district of Yirgacheffe, and Hama, in Kochere. We have purchased washed coffees from the Idido Cooperative, which delivers some of the best quality coffee in the region. From Hama, we have purchased both washed and unwashed (natural) coffees. Hama joined YCFU in 2007 in order to get access to a market that is more focused on quality, and to receive some support to produce a better quality coffee.

      YCFCU is working very hard to be proactive in terms of promoting quality. Premiums (over ECX ) to farmers based on coffee grade is a measure that they are implementing to increase the quality of coffee. YCFCU now has its own processing facility in Addis, but still no lab, sometimes using the SCFCU lab. In 2014-15 they planned to export approximately 220 containers of high quality coffee to markets around the world.

      Geographic Location: Kochore District -- Varietals: Ethiopia Arabica Heirloom -- Altitude: 1800 - 2500 meters