It is widely believed that coffee originated in Ethiopia and is therefore indigenous to the country, though there are other schools of thought that suggest it may have all started in Sudan. Generally speaking though it is the town of Kaffa, from which coffee derives its name, which is considered the rightful birthplace of this wonderful commodity and to this day coffee grows wild in the area. Research suggests that coffee was originally used as a food – ground still raw and blended with animal fats. Kaldi is of course the famous name of our industry, for legend has it that it was this goatherd who discovered coffee. He copied his goats by eating the bright red cherries that made them so lively and in doing so joined in with their wild dancing. A preacher observing such frivolities hurled Kaldi’s cherries onto a fire declaring them the devil’s work – until the air was filled with the delightful aromas of the roasting beans, upon which he relented, declaring such a fragrance to be surely the work of God! Ethiopia produces a wide range of coffee with each region’s beans having very distinctive characteristics making some of these the best and most sought after in the world.
Key producing regions include Harar, Sidamo, Yergacheffe (in Sidamo), Limu, Djimmah, Lekempti and Bebeka. Ethiopia is the largest coffee producer in Africa and, in the Arabica league, is third in the world with a production of between 4 and 5 million bags.
The Yukro cooperative is part of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (OCFCU) which brings together nearly 200 groups from this coffee growing region, which accounts for 65 per cent of the country’s total coffee growing area.
The OCFCU is a small- holder cooperative union that represents close to a quarter of a million farmers. It was established in 1999 to allow the direct export of coffee produced by farmers who had organised themselves into cooperatives.