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Ethiopian Coffee – Single Origin & Traceability

Created by Admin in News 30 Jun 2021

Coffee Gateway to the Middle East, US & Europe

Ethiopia’s geographical positioning, sharing land borders with
Djibouti (the main shipping port) makes it the gateway to the rest of
the Middle East and the Western world. Today, Ethiopia is the largest
coffee exporter in East Africa. Coffee accounts for 27-31% of
the total commodity exports of the country. Single-origin specialty
coffee is the most sought-after range due to its distinctive taste and

In the year 2018/19, Ethiopia exported 47,519 metric tons of coffee
to Saudi Arabia, 42,215 MT to Germany, 33,824 MT to Japan, 24,080 MT to
the USA, 17,921 MT to Belgium, and 13,059 MT to Sudan.

According to experts, domestic coffee consumption in 2019/20 is
estimated to be 3.14 million bags (188,400 metric tons), 50,000 bags
less than in 2018/19. This decline may be attributed to social
distancing measures put in place in response to COVID-19, which has
resulted in lower domestic consumption at informal outdoor coffee
stands. Post-pandemic,  Ethiopia coffee consumption in MY
2020/21 will reach 3.4 million bags, an increase of 260,000 bags (15,600
metric tons) over the 2019/20 estimate. It is estimated that the
consumption levels will return to normal in 2021.

Innovative Coffee Traceability System

In 2015, the IBM-enabled system was first introduced as a pilot
project in the Ethiopian coffee industry and is successfully being
implemented to date with the aim of increasing global exports of
high-quality Ethiopian coffee. The unique system, known as eATTS helps trace the origins of Ethiopian beans right from picking to processing and packing. The innovative coffee traceability system is not only beneficial
for international buyers and coffee roasters, but it even encourages
Ethiopian smallholder farmers to use cultivation and harvesting best

The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) classifies all the coffee
exported from Ethiopia. In addition to this, the Ethiopian Coffee and
Tea Marketing and Development Authority together with Coffee Quality
Inspection Center certifies all coffee exported from Ethiopia.

Excerpts of the interview with Miss.Nejua Suffian, General Manager – Ask Coffee Export

1. What makes Ethiopian coffee unique?

Ethiopian coffee has complex flavors and is traceable back to the ground. The
Coffee Arabica produced in Ethiopia is cultivated at very high
altitudes between 1900 to 2400 ft above sea level. Our coffee plants are
free from pesticides and harmful fertilizers, instead, we make sure to
use only organic compost
.  These factors make Ethiopian coffee priceless.

2. How much coffee do Ethiopians drink on average?

We drink as much as 5 cups or more per day, which means more than 60% of the coffee produced is consumed locally. Coffee
is an important part of Ethiopian culture. We have a unique coffee
ceremony that involves roasting coffee beans and preparing boiled
coffee in a vessel called Jebena. The coffee ceremony is considered to
be the most important social occasion in many households.

3. As an exporter of coffee what are the main challenges you face in the market?

Delays in harvest due to unfavorable weather conditions are one of the main challenges faced by us. Secondly, the presence of middlemen in the coffee value chain is affecting prices in the market.

4. What is the effect of the current Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic on the coffee industry in Ethiopia?

The Covid-19 pandemic has negatively affected the coffee industry for nearly 2 months. Delay
in coffee processing due to nationwide lockdown and at the supply chain
system led to a pause in our domestic and export business. 
However, the Ethiopian government is supportive and hopes the situation will improve soon.

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