Soft | Apple | Melon | Grape
Ethiopia | Organic | Woman-owned Farm
"Soft" is the word we use most frequently for Ethiopian coffees, and there's just no better word for us. In this case, it demonstrates that melon softness, that more subtle apple/grape acidity in this "fruit basket" coffee.
Similar to other Ethiopian coffees we've had, this one is sure to convert just about anyone. Think you don't like light roasts? Think again. Never drink your coffee black? Just try it. It's an outstanding cup and full of flavor without being acidic or bitter.
Bedhatu Jibicho, our esteemed coffee grower, is the definition of tenacity. After her husband died in 1991, she continued to single-handedly manage the farm while raising all six of their children. In addition, her family’s journey in coffee is emblematic of the recent changes in the Ethiopian export rules, which in the past few years have opened new opportunities for individual farmers to export their own coffee, rather than limit exportation to cooperative unions and private companies.
Bedhatu eventually joined the larger Worka cooperative in 2011, and then the nearby Banko Gotiti cooperative when it formed in 2013, both part of the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (YCFCU). In the same year she was recognized as a model farmer by the union and became eligible for processing training that would allow her to prepare and sell her own coffee as a separate lot, marketed and handled by the union as part of a new program of differentiation.
Her family farm, Roba and Family Coffee, is perhaps the most successful single-farm exporter we know of in Gedeb. While the Roba family has expanded their reach to support other producers, we are always pleased to have an offering from Bedhatu’s original 84-acre farm, which she has personally managed for over 50 years now without the use of chemical inputs. 84-acres is drastically larger than most farms in the area, and Bedhatu employs 20 year-round workers and another 130 seasonal workers for the harvest who are primarily women. The farm itself produces about 5 containers of exportable coffee each year, which is always among Royal’s top qualities and one of the most sought-after Ethiopia profiles we carry.
For this natural lot, cherries are carefully hand sorted and floated to separate out less dense beans, then immediately spread out on raised beds in a single layer where it is dried over a period of 12 to 20 days and hand sorted continuously. The drying cherry is often covered in the mid-afternoons to prevent cracking or uneven evaporation during the hours of intense sun.
As a family owned business, emphasis on social impact in the communities where they source coffee is taking shape. The Roba family has invested in more localized cherry collection sites to reduce the transportation cost for other producers. They have also contributed to road construction projects that make travel a bit easier for everyone.