Anytime I get a chance to visit a producing group that grows, harvests and mills the cherries to coffee that my company tastes and enjoys, I take that chance. I bring with me the excitement that comes from roasting and hand preparing coffee to the producer who does the growing and processing using their own learned methodologies.
It goes beyond words to delve into a trek that lasted near 8 days in Ethiopia. The vision for this trip was to build a better relationship with an established exporter, as well as to meet other exporters and to greet them with thoughts, comments, feedback and goals. And of course to cup coffee, lots of coffee! Ethiopian coffee is wildly diverse, often indigenous and heirloom. At mill Kellensoo it is processed 2 ways: Sun-dried or washed (more on that later). It’s clear to me that the people that work the coffee production have little else to export and not so that they can aspire for something else, but that they can help abolish cod ideas of working poor and use the great power of their land and what it produces to earn democratic success. My ambitions are to connect with people that know about coffee growing and that show an attitude of opportunity that coffee provides.
The business of Coffee in Ethiopia is often met with a language barrier since most of the Ethiopian people speak Amharic and this makes it hard to communicate over a coffee table. However, over a lunch table on the other side of the hand it’s a lot easier to relate personally- through email works also. With a sigh or a deep breath, the people that build their lives around this one product to export give everything it takes to process and refine while learning everything they can from their foreign guests. I visited the mill in Kellensoo Mokkonniissaa or (Kilenso Mokonisa) with three other coffee aspirers to see for ourselves just how as a matter of fact delicious this coffee gets. It’s very much to the smiling and teetering of the young people that grow up on the farm areas to greet me. In total, they give me a look of facial expressions that range from every type. After just a few short minutes, they quickly see that the four of us are there to simply take pictures, say hello, enjoy a coffee ceremony and be on our way to the dry mill or somewhere else.
Each farm gate visit further makes me question how the process of a farm gate visit helps build success. This trip makes me question what it is I can do beyond buying Ethiopian coffee and visiting the places where the farm people live, play and get educated. For the producing managers and for the environment, the real issues are the people, their individuality and betterment at the farm and specifically at the Kellensoo mill the water run-off from washed processing. Although I have the privilege of the big picture it would be impossible to prove to each person I interact with that my company will serve their coffee with social and environmental consciousness.