Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union
Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (SCFCU) was founded in 2001 to represent coffee producing cooperatives located throughout the Sidama Zone of southern Ethiopia both locally and in international markets. In 2003, SCFCU was certified by FLO Fair Trade. Today, SCFCU has grown to represent 53 cooperatives and more than 80,000 small-scale farmer families providing financial, marketing and technical services to its members.
The Sidama region provides a range of quality profiles as it stretches across the mountains of Bensa to the valleys of Dale and Aleta Wendo. Coffee produced by SCFCU member cooperatives is shade grown in low densities under the indigenous trees and enset (false banana), which is a staple food crop for Sidama families. SCFCU produces approximately 10,000 tons of high quality organic arabica beans per year, of which nearly 95% of this coffee is washed.
Sidama washed coffee shows pronounced acidity, fruit flavors varying from red fruits to blueberry and sweet organic to tangy lemon aromas and flavors, medium body and a bitter cocoa finish. In Sidama regions of higher altitudes – often called “Yirgacheffe type” coffee – the coffee shows the characteristic and delicate flavors of bergamot and lemon zest. Sidama natural process (unwashed) provides a quality profile with candied strawberry or blueberry fruit flavors, low acidity and rich, full body.
Coop Coffees began sourcing directly from SCFCU in 2009 and has developed a solid partnership with this organization. In 2016, Coop Coffees held a quality workshop to build awareness and consciousness about processing coffee from tree to primary cooperatives warehouses. And, in 2017, as part of the Coop Coffees Carbon, Climate and Coffee initiative and in collaboration with SCFCU, a first-of-its-kind workshop was held in the Sidama Region to help farmers better understand soils and enhanced composting methods for better yields.
Coop Coffees has also had the opportunity to develop direct relationships with several of the SCFCU community based cooperatives over the years, including Shilcho, Homacho Waeno, Talamo, Bona, Abela Galuko and Fero Cooperatives.
Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmer Cooperative Union
The Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperatives Union (YCFCU), located in southern Ethiopia, was founded in 2002. It has grown to represent 23 member cooperatives which includes more than 300,000 families. In this region, 62,004 hectares are dedicated to coffee alone. Grown alongside bananas and maize, forest canopy, organic fertilizers and a temperate climate produce a very high quality bean.
Coop Coffees started sourcing from YCFCU in 2013 and has established direct relationships with some of the cooperatives including Idido, in the district of Yirgacheffe, and Hama, in Kochere. We have purchased washed coffees from the Idido Cooperative, which delivers some of the best quality coffee in the region. From Hama, we have purchased both washed and unwashed (natural) coffees. Hama joined YCFU in 2007 in order to get access to a market that is more focused on quality, and to receive some support to produce a better quality coffee. YCFCU is working very hard to be proactive in terms of promoting quality. Premiums (over ECX ) to farmers based on coffee grade is a measure that they are implementing to increase the quality of coffee. YCFCU now has its own processing facility in Addis, but still no lab, sometimes using the SCFCU lab. In 2014-15 they planned to export approximately 220 containers of high-quality coffee to markets around the world.
Natural Process Coffee from Ethiopia
Third Coast Coffee imports "Natural Process" coffees from both SCFCU and YCFCU, available seasonally. This water-conserving method allows the flavor-laden coffee cherry to remain on the seed for days, saturating the bean with an intense berry flavor.