Halaka is an area in Guji, Southern Ethiopia, where Buno General Trading has a small washing station and parchment storage warehouse. Coffee production is growing here, with more and more land in the area becoming suitable for growing coffee due to climate change. The washing station sits at 1990masl but most of the coffee comes from producers above this. Producers in this area tend to have a lot more land than in other parts of Guji and across Ethiopia, with most producers that deliver to this station having between 2 and 10 hectares of land. Not only does this make it more sustainable and profitable for producers, but also allows Buno General Trading to train farmers on quality best practices more easily and thoroughly.
The Halaka washing station produces around 4 containers of coffee, all of which is natural processed. Abiyot is even carrying out experiments with fermentation and creating new innovative riffs on the classic natural process. One of the processes he has been developing here involves macerating cherry in bags prior to drying and then drying the coffee in stages. Results have been interesting and unique, but the classic naturals from this station perfectly exhibit the best characteristics of Ethiopian coffee – loads of ripe mango, pineapple, blueberry and purple flowers.
Producers deliver cherry to the station as they pick, ensuring that the selection is perfect, so deliveries come in one or two bag batches. These small lots are combined together based on the standard of cherry selection before they are washed and floated to remove dirt and damaged and less dense beans, after this the cherries are laid out on drying beds to dry for around 30 days.
Buno Trading is a relatively small exporter who has 7 washing stations across various areas of Guji producing specialty coffee. Abiyot, the owner and manager, has focused on producing the best quality coffee possible, searching for the highest elevations and filtering producer partners by quality of cherry selection delivered. Almost all of the coffee produced at his stations are naturals, and he has been experimenting with various processing methods. Abiyot works with a range of producers of all sizes, but has focused more on farmers with more land, between 8 and 15 hectares. This size of producer makes it possible to improve picking and quality more easily and separate lots to make single producer micro-lots.
The cherry selection at Buno’s sites was by far the best we have seen in Ethiopia, which shows on the cupping table. Abiyot incentivises farmers by offering a very competitive premium on well selected cherry.