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.

La Loma – Costa Rica

FLAVOR NOTES:
RIPE BERRIES, RAW CACAO, WHITE ALMOND, BROWN SUGAR

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.

Los Angeles – Colombia

FLAVOR NOTES:
RIPE CHERRIES, BERRIES, SATURATED SWEETNESS, ELEGANT, CLEAN

Farm : Los Angeles
Owners : Maria Bercelia Martinez and Jose Erazo
Varieties : Caturra and Colombia F.6

Process : Washed
Region : Acevedo, Huila
Altitude (masl) : 1770m
Harvest Method : Handpicking

Maria Bercelia Martinez

Maria Bercelia Martinez got into the coffee business when she happened to buy the Los Angeles farm with her partner Jose Erazo. Before this she had no experience in coffee and instead had her background in the commercial business.  In the beginning they had a very few resources but the made the best they could with them. They started their work days at 4 am with a long walk to the nearest road to catch the first cars passing at 6 am.

With this great dedication, hard work and the help of Fairfield Trading company  Maria Bercelia and her family has been successful in turning their business focus to specialty coffee. Their passion to quality was rewarded in 2016 when their family’s coffees occupied two places in the final of the Collaborative Coffee Source’s Acevedo Cup – a regional coffee quality competition by CCS and Fairfield trading.

Future plans

Maria’s family’s future plans include growing both in varieties and production. Also they plan to plant three more varieties, including Geisha and remodel their washing station. For the latter the construction are already on their way. Their dedication and thrive to greater quality have also resulted in higher interest to better their processing. At the moment they are especially keen to better the drying in order to end up with even better results for their customers in roasting the coffee. All this hard work is a sign of deep passion to producing quality coffee. As a result of all this work Maria Bercelia hopes to see her coffee being recognized in world.

Acevedo, Huila

Acevedo is municipality in the southeast corner of the Huila department. It is known for it’s diverse micro climates which make it a very prominent coffee-growing region due to it’s diverse micro climates. Also it boasts with rich variety of tropical fruits, flowers, birds and insects.