Check out our Guide to Ethiopian Coffee Grades
500 smallholder farmers organized around EDN Ethiopian Coffee
1900 – 2300 masl
Local arabica landraces and heirloom cultivars
Tirtira Guyo community, Hambela District, Guji Zone, Oromia Region, Ethiopia
Full natural and dried on raised beds
November - January
This is a smallholder-grown, centrally processed natural from western Guji zone with flavors of strawberry, toasted coconut, orange peel, and anise-like aromatics. The Hambela district is well-known for excellent coffees and this lot, from the Benti Nenka processing station, is no exception.
Welcome to Guji Zone
Ethiopia’s Guji zone is a distant and heavily forested swath of land stretching southeast through the lower corner of the massive Oromia region. Guji is heavy with primary forest thanks to the Guji tribe, a part of Ethiopia’s vast and diverse Oromo nation, who have for generations organized and legislated to reduce mining and logging outfits in their area, in a struggle to conserve the land’s sacred canopy. Compared to other coffee-heavy regions, large parts of Guji feel like prehistoric backwoods. Coffee farms in many parts of Guji begin at 2000 meters in elevation and tend to climb from there. The highland farming communities in this part of the country can be at turns Edenic in their natural purity, and startlingly remote.
EDN Ethiopian Coffee
EDN Ethiopian Coffee is an independent processor and exporter of coffee with processing sites in Guji, Gedeb and Chelchele in southern Yirgacheffe, and Sidama. The coffee was processed at the local site in Guji’s Benti Nenka community, part of the Hambela district, which borders with southern Yirgacheffe. The Benti Nenka site services the coffee produced by about 500 outgrowers, each with an average of 1-2 hectares of diversified farmland. While not certified organic, farming methods among smallholders here have traditionally favored organic and regenerative practices, and all produce subsistence crops for the families who live on site.
EDN processes coffee both as sundried natural and anaerobically-fermented naturals. During the harvest months the Benti Nenka site employs about 130 people to manage the continuous rotating and sorting of sundried cherry, as well as intake, payment, security, and inventory operations. All workers and their families receive educational resources, full daily meals, and on-site lodging during the harvest. They are also pursuing sustainability and social governance certifications to expand their global market.
Keeping Specialty Value Alive
The gorgeous arabica genetics of this area, blessed by some of the country’s healthiest biodiversity, could be easily ruined in transit, or homogenized into large regional blends with little traceability, both resulting in depleted pricing. One way for farmers to survive their price disadvantages was by having larger, more diversified family parcels, sometimes 20 acres or more, with equal emphasis on livestock or other crops for local markets as on coffee. But the vast majority have always been small and coffee-centered. Notably as well, cooperative unions, Ethiopia’s hallmark exporter organizations for small farmers, have little to no presence in this part of Guji. Were it not for private washing stations like EDN’s in Benti Nenka, many local growers here would have few options, worst of all being the sporadic, rogue coffee collector from Gedeo or farther, bringing low prices.