While James Hoffmann is away on internet sabbatical, Anette Moldvær is more than picking up the slack over at the Square Mile Coffee Blog. She just posted a day-by-day recounting of her current work in Ethiopia, and dollars to donuts, it’ll be the best thing you read all day.
Passing through Ziway we decided to pull off the road at Lake Langamo for a quick coffee and some breakfast, much needed as the early start and 34 degrees C at 9:30 am was starting to cause a bit a drowsiness at least on my part. Refuelled it was onwards through the cute little town of Negele where I suddenly noticed what was to become a common sight as we went on: lots of roadside pingpong and foosball tables – I kinda wanted to pull over for a game but we had to rush on! At about 2000 masl the landscape started becoming a lot more green and lush, such a contrast to dry, dusty Harar, and the vegetation changed in, well, many ways. Hitting Shashemene Mike explained that this was the spiritual home of Rastafarians in Ethiopia- emperor Haile Selassie was a holy person for Rastafarians in Jamaica and so many made the pilgrimage to the emperors palace in this little town. Many were given land and settled, and in between their rasta history museum and pictures of Bob Marley you could certainly smell the distinct aroma of another rastafarian influence. Seems that if you feel like indulging in something other than chat, Shashemene is the place to go! Kids will freely com up and offer you ‘medicine’ in code names like ‘marlboro’ or ‘marlboro light’ – depending on your level of expertise.
We briefly paused just outside Awasa, the capital of Sidamo, to have a cup of coffee with Phil and Ed from Schluter who just so happened to be accompanied by Mr. Haileselassie Ambaye, the man behind our Kebado Dara! He’s been in coffee for close to 20 years, in the local market selling coffee to the akrabis (the owners of the washing stations, here in Yirgacheffe also called suppliers), as an akrabi himself, and for the last 6 years also working as an exporter. He now has 18 people working in his office, is building a new dry mill and is investing in new trucks for transport, so I’m looking forward to seeing where he goes from here.
The feature just gets better from here, a real slice-of-life bit of coffee reporting that really takes you there. We can’t recommend this stuff enough, but we can double-link it, so seriously, click here.