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Death to Ethiopian micro lots?

 width=Being a bit confused by the time difference, I woke up quite early  because of some annoying birds outside my hotel window. Although it made me a bit grumpy the beautiful view of flowers from my bedside inspired me to make some of last years Gatundu coffee on my travelmate, the Aeropress, and to read some e-mails.

Although the coffee was delicious I got a real bitter aftertaste in my nouth after reading the newsletter from George Howell and Terroir coffee company. I have copied the essentials from his newsletter below:

In that vein, the Ethiopian government determined a few months ago that all availability and traceability of individual coffee lots be scrapped. Regional coffee lots were to be graded by the government’s designated authorities and then lump-blended into large trademarked lots. You could buy Yirgacheffe Grade X and know nothing more. This adds value? After strenuous protests from shocked exporters the government relented somewhat: cooperatives could operate independently and retain traceability but not so with any private mills – who often paid farmers for their cherry more than many coops! So this means, as things stand now, that the organic superb Ademe Bedane we currently have will not be available as new crop this year. Even if they produce a lot as refined and flavorful as the one we currently have, tough – it will be dropped into the leveling sea of other lots all ideally from the same region, but in no way required to be. This is commodity thinking at its worst, the very way to guarantee there are no “Ah-hah!” moments that really determine why certain regions become stars commanding higher prices. We pray Ethiopia will relent even at this late time in the current season. Specialty coffee exporters, when recently protesting, were told they were irrelevant because specialty represented 1% of Ethiopia’s sales. That’s vision!”

For our customers it means there probably will be no more Aricha coffee from Ethiopia until the Ethiopian goverment change the new legislation (which may take a while if it ever gets changed).

We still have about 60 kilos left of the Aricha #32, but expect it o vanish from our shelves in 1-2 weeks. So if you want a last sweet taste of this intense coffee, then run down to our store and get your hands on some of the last bags..

Tim W

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