intro

Daniel Miju is a septuagenarian coffee farmer and native of the Worka kebele of Gedeb. Miju’s experience farming precedes his involvement as a founding member of the Worka cooperative in 2006 by nearly three decades, having inherited his 15 hectare farm in 1978 (the same year Royal was founded). He has surrounded himself with a large and supportive family, many of whom still live locally and assist with the annual harvest.

His farm was selected as a model example in 2014 for the cooperative, and although his coffee is sold through the centralized ECX auction system, this lot is fully traceable through the partnership Royal has established with the YCFCU (the umbrella Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union covering coops in the Gedeo Zone) to highlight single farmer lots. While not unheard of, it’s exceedingly uncommon to find a single-farmer lot from Ethiopia, so Miju’s coffee presents a unique opportunity to taste a very specific regional terroir.

The Worka cooperative is located in the district of Gedeb, which lies to the south of Yirgacheffe town, each of which fall under the umbrella of the Gedeo zone, one of the smaller administrative divisions in the vast Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Ethnic Region of Ethiopia. Gedeo receives its name from the ethnic majority in the region, and shares a border to the north with the much larger Sidama zone, and is surrounded on the East, South, and West by the Oromia Region, currently plunged into political turmoil.

Drying coffee in the cherry, as Daniel Miju has done with his coffee here, is the original tradition in Ethiopia. Coffee is not just a cash crop; it’s a way of life. Ethiopian coffee culture runs deep even in the rural farmlands, and it’s entirely common to see a day’s harvest from a small private coffee garden drying in the cherry on a porch or patio. Ethiopia is among the only producing countries where coffee farmers roast and brew their own harvest.

GREEN

In many ways, Daniel Miju’s coffee mirrors the green prep of similar single-farmer lots we’ve featured lately, mostly from the Worka cooperative. Using newer selections of heirloom varieties, Miju has grown a dense coffee which has been neatly sorted down to mostly 14-16 screen size and dried to a very friendly looking 10.2% moisture content.

TASTE

ROAST

A very clean coffee with a mild, but lovely acidity. Our first roast, PR-399, had a quick start with a lot of heat and then transformed into a more evenly roasted profile as it made its way towards first crack. Our second roast, PR-400 was just the opposite with a longer drying period and an aggressive progression to first crack through the Maillard reactions. Both roasts displayed a nice malic acidity with notes of pear, green apple, lime, cherry, and honey. A very crisp and focused coffee that is friendly in the drum.

BREW

We found Daniel Miju’s coffee to be expressive and enjoyable, especially the PR-399 roast. Incredibly soluble, this coffee is bound to please even the most picky of the Ethiopian coffee lovers. Everything from gentle malic acid (showing up as a crisp pear flavor) to vibrant citrus and berry was in fine form here. The finish brought on some definite florals; I don’t often note a coffee as having a lavender floral, but the descriptor is very apt in this case.

Excellent coffee, by any standard. Hard to go wrong with this one!

Origin Information

Grower
Daniel Miju
Variety
Indigenous heirloom cultivars
Region
Gedeb District, Gedeo Zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region, Ethiopia
Harvest
November - January
Altitude
1,900 – 1,950 meters
Soil
Luvisols
Process
Dried in the cherry on raised beds
Certifications

Background Details

This coffee is produced by Daniel Miju and processed as a separate micro-lot at the Worka Cooperative where Daniel is a founding member. The Worka cooperative is located in the southern district of Gedeb, Ethiopia. The cooperative was established in 2005 and Daniel’s farm has been utilized as a model to help everyone in the cooperative improve their harvesting methods.  Daniel was born in Worka and started cultivating coffee in the late 1970s.  Now in his 70s, Daniel remembers a time before the cooperatives when he had to transport his coffee cherry by horse to the town of Yirgacheffe.  Through coffee Daniel has supported his large family, which includes 23 children who continue to live close to Daniel and help him manage the farm.