Duromina – Ethiopia

Co-Operative : Duromina
Owners : more than 270 smallholders
Varieties : Ethiopian Heirlooms

Process : Washed
Region : Jimma, Oromia Region
Altitude (masl) : 1900-2100
Harvest Method : Handpicking

In the spring of 2010 a little more than 100 farmers from the remote neighbourhood of Boto joined their forces and started a co-operative called Duromina. In Afan Oromo language this means “improve their lives”, which is exactly what it has done.

Coffee has grown in the region for generations but before the co-operative people paid almost no attention to quality control. Farmers processed their coffees using dry, natural methods and sold their crops in the local markets receiving very low prices. Despite the ideal climate conditions and high altitudes the area was almost a synonym to poor quality coffee.

Duromina co-operative got a jump start with the help of an international nonprofit called TechnoServe. TechnoServe works with development initiatives, mostly with agro-businesses that utilise natural resources and human power. With their help farmers were able to gain funding, education and training needed to build and run a successful wetmill. As a result the farmers were able to process coffee themselves for the first time and pay attention to quality. All their hard work and investment paid itself back already the following year. In 2011 their coffee scored 91.92 points and an international panel of judges voted it the best coffee in all of Africa.

Followed by the vast growth in the quality and recognition of their coffees, farmers were able to get a 65% premium over the international commodity price. With this increase in income they were able to pay back their loans in just one year.

The farmers of Duromina Co-operative place high value on developing their coop as well as helping others. Farmers are very willing to pass on their knowledge and educate other farmers on the methods they have found useful. They have also used the increased income in bettering the lives of their whole community. For example they have built a bridge to keep their remote village connected to neighbouring markets and clinics even during the rainy season and flooding rivers. The village has also renewed their roofs, solar power and primary school all the way through eighth grade. Families are able to send their children to secondary school in nearby Agaro and even to universities. There’s also plans to connect their village to the electrical grid in the near future.

The farmers cultivate their coffee in small homesteads and on the hillsides under the shade of indigenous Acacia trees. There is no use of agrochemicals for the farming, making the coffee completely natural. The water for the wetmill comes primarily from the nearby uncontaminated river by gravity. Waste water is treated through planted vetiver grass and 2 big lagoons and left over pulp from the processing of the coffee cherries is mixed with soil to be used as a fertiliser.

Duromina Co-op and TechnoServe’s Coffee Initiative

Duromina got their funding through Technoserve’s Coffee Initiative much like our other Ethiopian coffee Hunda Oli. TechnoServe conducted Coffee Initiative in Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia in the years 2008-2011. It’ objective was to enable smallholder farmers to improve their productivity and increase their incomes. TechnoServe is regarding Duromina as an outstanding success story of rapidly growing business receiving exceptionally high returns from US Market.

Through this program 139 609 farmers received training that helped them better their farming techniques which resulted in better quality of the coffee and thus increased the farmers’ yields by an average of 38%. These increased profits are bettering the lives of the whole community.

Hunda Oli – Ethiopia


Co-Operative : Hunda Oli
Owners : more than 180 smallholders
Varieties : Limu Heirlooms

Process : Washed
Region : Limu, Oromia Region
Altitude (masl) : 1990-2250
Harvest Method : Handpicking

Hunda Oli is a farmers’ co-operative in the wild forests of Agaro, Limu in the Oromia region of western Ethiopia – “the birthplace of coffee”. Here the coffees grow around 2000 meters above sea level in the shades of indigenous, old-growth forests. Typically one farmer has a lot of a 1 hectare. With this small farm sizes co-operatives are especially valuable in helping to bring coffee to the market.

The almost 200 farmers selectively hand pick shade-grown coffees of various local heirloom varieties and deliver them to the co-op’s wet mill. Before pulping the coffee cherries are carefully sorted and all the over-ripe and immature cherries are discarded. Because of a water and labor saving mechanical demucilager there is no need for fermentation.  After this coffee spends around  7-14 days on drying tables until it reaches the target moisture content.

Hunda Oli and TechnoServe

The Hunda Oli Co-op was established under a Coffee Initiative by an NGO called TechnoServe. TechnoServe works with development initiatives and mostly with agro-businesses utilising natural resources and human potential, such as coffee.

TechnoServe started the Coffee Initiative in Ethiopia in 2008 by the help of an investment from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They trained coffee farming households to improve their productivity through a curriculum of modules on agronomic best practices.

Through this program 139 609 farmers received training that helped them better their farming techniques which resulted in better quality of the coffee and thus increased the farmers’ yields by an average of 38%. These increased profits are bettering the lives of the whole community. For example Hunda Oli Co-op has committed to invest a portion of their profits back into the community and to date they have installed water supply systems supplying more than 400 households.

La Loma – Costa Rica


Farm : La Loma
Owner : Hector Bonilla
Varieties : Red Catuai

Process : White Honey
Region : San Francisco de Leon Cortes, Tarrazú
Altitude (masl) : 1850
Harvest Method : Handpicking

The father and son team of Hector and Pablo Bonilla are the owners of the La Loma farm as well as the well-known and widely recognised Don Mayo micro-mill. La Loma farm sits at 1800 meters above sea level in the Tarrazu region, famous for it’s high quality specialty coffees and breathtakingly beautiful scenery.

The Bonillas have been producing some of the finest coffees in Costa Rica for several years. They also process coffee cherries from several neighbouring farms on their mill and were behind the producing of the CoE winning lot of 2009.

Hector Bonilla founded the Don Mayo Coffee Mill in 1994. Before this Mr Bonilla was the general manager of Cooperativa de Caficultores de Llano Bonito R.L. While working for the co-op he, amongst other things, incorporated the “Fair Trade” market and the beginning of direct sales of the cooperative’s coffee to European and North American clients.

The family is very much involved in all the aspects of their business and caring of the coffee trees. They oversee every aspect of plantation management. Including pruning, fertilising and cleaning of the plantations and also participate in the milling process, in order to assure a quality product.

The Bonillas use agricultural practices taken from research-based evidence; interventions that include best practice of soil treatments, shade organisation and coffee varieties. These practices are based primarily on the use of varieties of coffee that have been proven to best match the agroecology of the farms, soil maintenance without the use of agrochemicals and the use of the controlled shade to incorporate organic matter into soil.

Tarrazu Area

Tarrazú region has two well-defined seasons – rainy and dry, which is ideal for growing coffee. Because of distinctive seasons the coffee cherries grow surprisingly uniform in ripeness. The rainy season lasts for seven months starting in May and continuing all the way to November. During this time the coffee plants are growing. Harvest time runs from November to March and therefore coincides nicely with the dry season. In addition the characteristic sedimentary soil composition of the land results in coffees that  have distinctively acidic qualities.