In January of 2017 the Sisters Coffee green buying team had the privilege of traveling to Ethiopia with our importing partner Sam Demisse of Keffa coffee. Accompanied by coffee professionals from around North America, our group visited wet mills, dry mills and farms all over the country. Our main goal was to visit the location where the Ardi Anasora originates—a natural processed Ethiopian coffee we have worked with for the past three years. We also went to experience coffees from all over Ethiopia and see how they are produced.
Last year, we launched a CrowdRise campaign to benefit the Nyampinga coffee cooperative in Rwanda’s Southern Province. The cooperative’s members were walking nearly half a mile uphill to transport buckets of water from a creek to a cistern at the washing station where they process their harvested coffee.
The biodiversity in Ethiopia takes you by surprise. Riding in a 90’s Landcruiser, your eye catches evergreen forests, arid rolling plains, and lush mountains covered in tropical vegetation. During our visit, we had an opportunity to see substantial amounts of countryside as we made our way down to Guji and Yirgacheffe, iconic and famed coffee regions. After all, Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee.
Our week in Rwanda has been breathtaking. In the span of five days, we covered a lot of ground—we ran a marathon in Kigali, visited the second largest dry mill in the country, and traveled south to Huye near the Burundi border—at every turn we were met with the warm hospitality and vibrant spirit innate to the Rwandan culture.
SUMMER IS KNOCKING. IT’S TIME TO PACK UP YOUR SCARVES AND MITTENS AND INSTEAD START DOING SOME WARM-WEATHER HIKING. LUCKY FOR YOU, HERE IN SISTERS WE HAVE MORE THAN JUST AMAZING COFFEE; WE HAVE A MYRIAD OF MOUNTAINS, FORESTS, AND HIKING TRAILS FROM WHICH TO CHOOSE. BELOW WE’VE CHOSEN TEN OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL.
It was especially hot the day we arrived to Hoja Blanca. There wasn't much shade to be found in Aurelio's neighborhood and this was by design.
Down the road we continued through the dust and heat until we finally approached the village of Hoja Blanca. The town sits in the bottom of a splendid valley, surrounded by steep coffee farms and lush jungle. Hoja Blanca consists of roughly 60 families, all of whom live in vibrantly gardened homes with gorgeous and ornate tiling. Nearly everyone here works with coffee in some form. Many own plots on nearby mountainsides while others help pick or process coffee.
The road to Finca Villaure is possibly the most beautiful road I’ve ever seen. There were 6 of us traveling with Sisters Coffee to visit our long time direct-trade partner, Aurelio Villaure in Guatemala. We met Aurelio the previous day and he showed us around the city of Huehuetenango. Now it was finally time for us to see where the coffee we had purchased for the last 12 years was grown and processed.