Ethiopia: Civil War, Massive Inflation & Specialty Coffee
March 09, 20222 min read
It is that time of year again when we get in a few new lots from Ethiopia. We have just released our new woman owned Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Bedhatu Jibicho, which is very reminiscent of one we had a few years back from Banko Gotiti. We are almost always stunned by what we can locate and how it tastes in the cup. We will be adding an award-winning offering from West Arsi which will cup very must like a Sidamo. Great news for sure!
All that being said, Ethiopia has been hit harder than most these past few years. While our inflation numbers at home are pretty rough, inflation in Ethiopia is 35%+ and they are fighting a civil war...while dealing with COVID. We saw some large price jumps last year from the country but this year we're seeing double or triple what we paid last year. The only good part of this increase is that a good portion of that increase is actually going to the farmers for all the coffee cherry delivered to the processing stations. The downside - yep you guessed it, coffee will be a higher price for everyone.
As a small business owner, I really enjoy running this business. I don't always love what I do especially when it comes to raising prices. Please trust that any price increases we need to make are simply to survive in this chaotic market. I don’t get massive bumps in salary or bonuses like the big dogs of the industry do when our prices go up. I dedicate my time and life to this business to make sure you, my awesome customers, have amazing coffee every day.
On a more positive note, the coffees that are coming in from Ethiopia are cupping at a higher score meaning they are tasting better (like that's even possible!) We are also seeing a more dense coffee bean leading to more intense tasting notes. A more dense bean is likely coming from dryer climates from less rainfall.
The name of the coffee you are drinking is very important. Why is so important…it’s just coffee right? Wrong! You are participating in the livelihood of dozens of families that have produced the coffee in your mug. Your simple morning (or afternoon & evening) drink impacts everyone from the farmer, processor, bagger, shipper, trucker, and finally the roaster and retail staff.
Well, we made it another year by a whisker. I want to thank everyone for all your help and support. We are wiser, smarter and more experienced running this business. Our products and retail customer base grew a great deal. This year we saw coffee quality increase from just about every country while supply was hindered by COVID and Leaf Rust.
We live in an amazing world full of high-quality specialty coffee. Hopefully, we can continue to provide you with some of the best coffee products out there. Working in the coffee industry takes tons of work. But we’re not just in the coffee industry, we’re also retail artisans working with and educating the public too.