To celebrate the coming of the season, we sat down with our Hambela exporting partner Aman Adinew, the Chairman and CEO of METAD. We’ve been lucky to know Aman for years and are grateful for his experience, insight, and sense of humor.
Hi Aman! Can you please introduce yourself?
After 26 years of living in the U.S. and working as an executive at DHL, Northwest Airlines, and 3M, I returned to my birthplace to help modernize Ethiopia’s coffee industry. My first taste of the coffee industry was as the Chief Operations Officer (COO) of the now world-renowned Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX).
While there, I focused on establishing quality control, certifications, and inventory management systems, and reengineering the supply chain’s processes end-to-end. The results brought the ECX international acclaim for its impact on farmers, and helped improve Ethiopia’s coffee reputation worldwide.
I founded METAD and serve as CEO. We strive to build a coffee industry that will give back to the people of Ethiopia, while bringing the highest quality Ethiopian coffee to roasters and coffee lovers all around the world.
How did you discover your passion for coffee?
Although I learned a great deal about coffee at the ECX, my passion for coffee really came from my grandmother, Muluemebet Emiru. In 1934, she became Africa’s first female pilot. Due to her bravery, she was awarded farmlands lush with wild coffee trees in the Harar and Sidamo regions of Ethiopia. With my grandfather’s help, she transformed the Harar farmland into a private coffee estate, forging our family’s deep connection to the land and the beginning of a coffee dynasty, a tradition we continue today.
What makes Hambela Estate coffees unique?
The altitude (1,950M – 2,250M), the soil type, the climate and most importantly the varieties we select for the areas make our coffees so unique. It’s something you really need to experience for yourself.
What part of Ethiopia do your coffees come from?
METAD’s out-growers are located in 14 Peasant Associations at both Hambela and Yirgacheffe (Gedeb).
In Hambela they include, Alaka, Bishan Fugu, Benti Nenqa, Buku, Deri Kochoha, Dimtu Hambela and Tertira Goyo.
In Yirgacheffe (Gedeb) they include – Halo Beriti, Chelchele, Chelbesa, Gotiti, Halo Hartume, Worka Sakaro and Banko Dhadhato.
Our Hambela coffees are USDA Organic certified by Control Union and UTZ Certified.
How can roasters ensure they are drinking the original Hambela Estate coffee?
You should ask your importer directly. We’ve worked with Royal Coffee and coffee roasters around the world to make Hambela a global brand that roasters and coffee lovers are passionate about. Unfortunately, there are a lot of others who have mislabeled Sidama and Nekempte coffees as being Hambela. The proof is in the cup. While there are so many wonderful coffees in Ethiopia, there is only one Hambela. Discerning roasters and coffee lovers can taste the difference.
What role does METAD play in the larger community?
In 2013, we worked with around 480 out-growers. Now, we’ve grown to 2,200 out-growers in Hambela and another 3,200 out-growers in Yirgacheffe (Gedeb).
We want to ensure our growers have the training and trees they need to produce wonderful coffee year after year.
We provide pre and post-harvest training twice a year and pay a premium during the harvest season. Additionally, we make secondary payments just before September based on the red cherry volume delivered. We have also have provided over 600,000 CBD resistant seedlings to the out-growers for free.
We have been thankful to have the first Organic and UTZ certified private farm in the region. Our certification extends to both our processing plants and out-growers. The premiums from these certifications have helped us invest in our community. Thanks to our success, we’ve been able to dig wells for our residents, build roads, and provide education for over 800 students and provide their teachers’ salaries. We’ve also provided over 105 college scholarships to disadvantaged members from the Gedeo Zone.
We believe women’s empowerment is important in the coffee lands and have women’s only coffee projects, invest in Cervical Cancer prevention via Grounds for Health and have a majority female staff (70%).
For Roasters just discovering their passion for Ethiopian coffees, what would you tell them to look for when sourcing Ethiopian coffees?
They are all so different! For example, Yirgacheffe coffees tend to be floral while Limmu coffees tend to be spicy and winey. The best way is to contact your importer and calibrate with them to discover what you love.
Whatever you choose, it’s important that roasters demand their importer to do the vetting as well as sourcing from dependable exporters, who purchased from traceable growers. We are proud to be able to offer traceability all the way to the kebele level (peasant group) and sometimes more.