Kubsitu Cooperative | Chercher Oda Bultum Farmers’ Cooperative
Indigenous heirloom cultivars
Kirara, Oromia Region, Ethiopia
October – December
Fully washed and dried on raised beds
The Chercher Oda Bultum Farmers’ Cooperative Union is a massive organization representing 106 primary cooperatives and more than 40,000 individual farmer members. The coops are spread out across 8 rural districts in the West Hararghe zone, which itself is one half of the greater coffee producing region known simply as “Harar” or “Harrar” or “Harari”, after its legendary walled city. If you were to cross the Great Rift Valley due east from Addis Ababa you would almost immediately enter West Hararghe zone on the other side. The highlands here are drought-prone, hot, and culturally very different from the southern zones. Some of the earliest commercial coffee operations in Ethiopia were based in Harar city, which was for centuries of the region’s greatest trading hubs between the horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula. Indeed, Royal’s multi-generation relationship with one of Ethiopia’s first private coffee labels began here. The old city itself is still considered one of Islam’s holiest and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of the more than 80 mosques in its modest circumference, at least 3 date back to the 10th century.Chercher Oda Bultum was established in 2005 and represents not just coffee growers, but also cooperatives producing beans, sesame, cattle, and vegetables. 36 of the 106 cooperatives are coffee associations, and of them 10 are certified organic. Kubsitu Primary Cooperative is one of the largest coffee associations in the union. The coffee produced is entirely naturally processed. In fact the word “natural” comes from the “natural”, or traditional, way Ethiopia always sun-dried its cherry on the ground prior to the advent of washing stations, and was a profile commercialized first in Harar. Kubsitu’s members average 1 hectare of land each, about half of which is planted with coffee. All cherry is dried centrally, these days on raised beds, but nevertheless still retains a distinct fruity and heady Harar terroir with flavors like dried berries, sarsaparilla, musk, and dark chocolate.Chercher Oda Bultum invests a great many resources into its broad variety of agricultural members. Coffee associations like Kubsitu regularly receive specialty harvesting training, access too a central nursery, preparation and supply of organic fertilizer, and educational suppliers for families with school age children.