PRODUCER: Mustefa Abalulessa
RELATIONSHIP: Third year of purchasing
ORIGIN PARTNER: COQUA
There are over two million smallholder coffee farmers in Ethiopia, but there is only one Mustefa Abalulessa. He is considered an industry pioneer and community leader in his region, where he provides coffee seeds and support to the local coffee industry. Earlier this year, our head of roasting, Ryan, was privileged enough to travel to Addis Ababa and meet Mustefa, spending the morning together as his coffee was milled. By all accounts, Mustefa lived up to expectations, proving to be an extremely friendly and chilled-out individual. It is classic Jimma coffee, bursting with big stone fruit flavours and cleansing acidity. We are over the moon to have this coffee back once again.
In 2017, a legislative change in the Ethiopian coffee industry made it easier for producers to gain export licenses, allowing them to sell more directly to customers like Seven Seeds. A somewhat radical change to the ECX ( Ethiopia coffee exchange ) allowed for more vertical integration, removing market entry barriers for producers. Mustefa Abalulessa was one of the first producers to gain such a license, and after an initial meeting at origin in 2018, Seeds could purchase directly from Mustefa in 2021. Changes like these have made establishing and maintaining direct relationships with smaller coffee exporters easier, removing bureaucracy and improving pricing transparency. It is not a perfect model but is widely seen as positive progress for producers in a country where coffee is the largest exported commodity.