Ethiopia is the motherland of Coffee Arabica. It is endowed with a rich variety of coffee and its diverse origins.
Ethiopian coffee is rich with original flavor and aroma because of the geographical (altitude, soil, temperature, rainfall, topography, ecology), genotypic and cultural variety within the country.
Gizat Worku, General Manager of the Ethiopian Coffee Exporters Association (ECEA) and coordinator of this year’s Cup of Excellence, told The Ethiopian Herald that in the first six months of this budget year, Ethiopia exported 92,000 tons of coffee and earned 304 million USD. Compared to last year’s performance, it covers one-third of the total export. But the first six months of the year saw a slight decline in coffee exports.
The main reason for this is that Ethiopian coffee production will start in January and sales will start this month. As a result, higher coffee prices are expected in the coming months. Of course, coffee exports have been low over the past six months, but it was sold at a better price than last year.
Germany used to be the largest buyer of Ethiopian coffee, and this year Saudi Arabia has become the largest buyer. From the exported Ethiopian coffee products for the international market in the past six months, 21,000 and 12,000 went to Saudi Arabia and Germany respectively.
As the Covid -19 pandemic has affected every sector during the past months, its impact has also affected the coffee sector. Saudi Arabia, Germany, Belgium and Japan are the common destinations of Ethiopian coffee.
According to Gizat, ECEA is working hard to ensure the benefit of coffee growers. Efforts will be made to ensure that coffee growers sell their products at a reasonable international and local price by taking the quality of the exported coffee into account. The Association is also involved in other issues like coffee pruning in order to ensure coffee quality and benefit coffee growers.
Cap of Excellence improves the quality of Ethiopian coffee. This will also help the country to sell its coffee at a better price in the international market. Ethiopian Specialty Coffee or High-Quality Coffee is highly marketable.
To this end, the Association pays special attention to the sale of specialty coffee because the quality of Ethiopian coffee is popular among buyers and consumers. The quality is also believed to be good. Therefore, efforts are being made to make most of Ethiopia’s coffee sales at specialty coffee.
The Cap of Excellence will be held this year as usual, and the sampling process was completed last week. A sample of the Cap of Excellence contestants was collected from February 01, 2021 to February 08, 2021. In the process, more than 1,800 samples were collected.
Last year, the collected coffee samples were 1402. The number of coffee samples for this year’s competition has increased significantly. As to him, this is a result of the activities undertaken to mobilize coffee farmers. This will increase the quality of coffee in the country. It also contributes to better sales.
The winners of the Cup of Excellence will have a chance to sell their coffee at an international auction. Last year’s winner of the Cap of Excellence sold for USD 407 per kilogram, he asserted. One of the benefits of the competition is that it encourages and motivates many farmers and coffee growers to produce with better quality.
Coffee growers should realize that they can sell their product at a good price for the international market if they produce quality coffee products. This is what improves the quality of Ethiopian coffee as a whole. As to him, the result of the Cup of Excellence competition is expected to be announced on April 13, 2021.
According to Gizat, the quality of the coffee observed in the Cap of Excellence is one of the factors that will increase the price of coffee. Last year, coffee was sold for USD 407 per kilogram as it earned 91 points in terms of quality measurement.
Henceforth, 168 international coffee buyers took part in a bid to buy the coffee. Ethiopia’s specialty coffee prices are expected to improve this year as well, he noted.
In fact, in some countries, the Covid 19 outbreak has prevented people from going to cafes and drinking coffee. These selected specialty coffees are sold in cafes, not bought in kilos, stored in private homes and used for services. Thus, this year’s Cup of Excellence Coffee winner will have an impact on the price.
He further stated that quality is not something that changes at once as it needs time. That is why the Cap of Excellence is being held with the promise that everyone will be better off making good quality coffee.
It is good that the Ethiopian coffee and Tea Authority is giving quality improvement education at the university level.
While this has greatly contributed to increased productivity and quality, “we still have a long way to go. The relationship with the regions should be clear in terms of improving coffee production and quality,” said Gizat.
Gizat said: If the country finds peace, we can go further. Ethiopia competes in coffee quality with well-known coffee producing countries such as Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia.
Therefore, we need to work in a coordinated manner to strengthen our capacity to provide quality coffee. It would also be good if regions realize that they are competing with other countries.