$19.50 | 12 oz box
Aleme Wako is a small-scale coffee farmer from Kochere in the Gedeo Zone in Ethiopia. Aleme used to rely on a marketer and exporter to sell his coffees, however, since 2018 he is registered as an exporter himself—which allows him to work directly with buyers like Counter Culture. He grows coffee on different farm parcels in the Biloya and Baya villages within Kochere. Aleme continues to focus on all aspects of improving his coffee production and strengthen coffee export activity. The results are evident in the coffee: we taste flavors of blueberry and chocolate with floral notes.
Aleme started coffee farming in 1991 and spent 10 hard-working years to diversifying his livelihood beyond coffee. In Gedeo culture, it is common for a parcel of family land to be shared with a grandson as a blessing. Aleme was fortunate enough to inherit two coffee farms—6.5 hectares of land—from his grandfather. He has been striving to improve and grow his coffee production ever since and has expanded his farm to 11 hectares by renting land.
His farms are located between the town of Biloya and the Baya village. His original coffee farm was planted with a local variety called Wolisho. He has been expanding and partly replacing the Wolisho variety with improved coffee varieties developed by the Jimma Agricultural Research Center (JARC). Currently, Aleme is harvesting Wolisho and two CBD-resistant coffee varieties called 7441 and 74158.
We first met Aleme Wako in 2013 at an organic composting workshop that Counter Culture sponsored in Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia. His passion and dedication to coffee farming makes him an exemplary farmer in the area. He used to be part of the Biloya co-op (and as a valuable member), which was part of YCFCU, but left after the market changed in Ethiopia. At the time, he was a member of the Biloya cooperative and had a big impact on establishing better post-harvest handling practices. Aleme was one of very few farmers in Gedeo who delivered their own coffee for direct export through the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union umbrella organization.
New coffee marketing and quality control policy implemented in Ethiopia in 2017 allowed coffee farmers who own two or more hectares of land to work directly with buyers to export their coffee. Aleme considers the new policy a great opportunity, and now has his coffee exporting license. In the 2017–18 cropping year, Counter Culture worked directly with Aleme to help build up his supply chain and develop best practices for handling and executing the export. Ultimately Aleme was able to export 65 bags of coffee to Charleston, S.C.