The 2018/2019 harvest is coming to an end all over Ethiopia.
It promises to be a good year in terms of quantity and quality. The weather has been good and there have been no cold spells, like those seen in the regions of Sidama and Gedeo last year. Harvesting is almost over and in the high-altitude areas, above 2,000 metres, a last picking is about to take place. It will therefore end three to four weeks earlier than last year.
Preparation and hulling of the natural coffees has begun and the first parchments have arrived in Addis Ababa for the export market. The first lots of Nyala and Gedeo have left to be processed and we are currently evaluating the first samples before dispatch. The first lots of grade 1 coffees, which are generally sourced at higher altitudes and prepared more meticulously, will arrive at the end of January and in the course of February.
WHAT ABOUT QUALITY?
Our Abbis Ababa lab has been testing the quality of the harvest with our suppliers for about a month and things are looking good. The Shakisso Dambi Uddo coffees are as complex and sweet as ever. The Jimma honey-processed coffees, produced by Mustafa Mohamed Ali and Khalid Shifa, are of an astonishing complexity, explained perhaps by the varieties originating from the Coche forest, near Agaro. The Limmu Kossa coffees by Yidnekachew Dabessa Chalchissa still have real substance, offering surprising aromas and a beautiful acidity.
POLITICS & COFFEE
We have good news to report in Guji in terms of the political situation. Peace has been restored between the OLF (Oromo Liberation Front) rebels and the government, thanks in part to the mediation efforts of Wadessa Yachisi, owner of the Guji Highlands plantation in Dambi Uddo and Shakisso. These kinds of political problems not only bring great suffering to the local populations, but they also carry a risk for the harvest. Day labourers tend to stay at home to avoid the unrest, roads are often blocked, and lots can be destroyed or stolen. Anfilllo is still difficult to get to, but we hope the situation will improve in the near future.
Jacques, head of the Belco Ethiopia office