Dido Birre started farming coffee in 1962 on two hectares of land that he inherited from his family. Over the past 56 years he has invested in quality improvement, purchased more land, and built new infrastructure. Dido actively manages a total of 6.5 hectares in the villages of Biloya and Ononcho in the Kochere woreda of the Gedeo Zone, Ethiopia. His meticulous farming and processing techniques yield some of the best examples of natural sundried coffees from the area. Expect notes of dried blueberry, vanilla, and pastry.
Dido was born into a coffee-farming family and grew up helping his father on the family farm. When Dido got married in 1962, he was given two hectares of land from his family. Understanding the economic importance of coffee farming—since it was the only means of income for his family—Dido decided to expand the size of his coffee farm. He bought more land and arranged contracts to farm additional parcels of land near Biloya and Ononcho Kebeles. As of today, he produces coffee from a total of 6.5 hectares of land.
Dido first sold coffee cherry as a means of income to local coffee traders. He did this for several years before he started delivering his coffee to a cooperative. The Ethiopian government implemented a new cooperative policy in 1998 to create more liberalized cooperatives, which strengthened the negotiating power of coffee farmers in the global economy. The establishment of Biloya Cooperative in 2002 was a result of this new policy. Since Dido is a resident in Biloya village, he was among the very few members who decided to deliver their red coffee cherries to the Biloya Cooperative. Up until 2012, Dido’s coffee was mixed with coffees from the other members in the cooperative. However, due to his strong dedication and tangible improvements in his coffee farming and post-harvest techniques, Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (YCFCU) chose him as an exemplary farmer and started processing his coffee separately in 2013 for direct sale on the international market.
From 2013– 2017, Counter Culture Coffee bought Dido’s coffee through YCFCU. However, with the implementation of a new coffee marketing and quality control policy in 2017, Dido obtained permission to operate as an exporter. Now a licensed exporter, Dido is responsible for finding a buyer, negotiating the price, handling all logistics, and delivering the coffee to the port of Djibouti. This coffee is fascinating for both Counter Culture Coffee and for Dido, since we have worked very closely to best define his supply chain, and helped to facilitate the export of his coffee. In particular, our East African supply chain management office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia has worked actively with Dido through the entire process. As a result of this partnership, the coffee arrived very early compared to years past, which is great news for flavor stability. We find this coffee to be vibrantly floral with notes of blueberry and chocolate.
It is very typical in most coffee growing areas in Ethiopia to name coffee farms after the head of a family, as is the case with Dido Birre.
Dido's farm is located north of Biloya town. It is geographically located between Biloya town and border of Debo Kebele of Kochere Woreda (district). The second farm is located in the middle of Ononcho Kebele.