Ethiopia is the cradle of coffee, and my motherland. Coffee is the most important export product of Ethiopia. I see every year when I am back, how fast the coffee market is growing. I see a lot of Chinese, I also hear more Dutch. They know that you have to be in Ethiopia for high quality coffee! Yet it remains a profession to know exactly which farmers and markets you should be.
We have many famous coffee areas, such as Harar, Sidamo and Yirgacheffe, and there are many types of coffees that have not or hardly been outside Ethiopia because they are kept for their own market. I know where I have to be in Ethiopia and always take special variations to my store.
Ethiopia is a real coffee country, with 600,000 farmers growing coffee on 4 million pieces of land. It is the country where the first wild coffee bushes were once discovered. This had to do with the climate: the coffee bushes need the unique Ethiopian climate in order to be able to grow well. Coffee in Ethiopia grows throughout the country, lowland, in the mountains and the islands, and alongside lots of flowers, fruits and plants. This influences the taste of the coffee and makes it unique.
The name of my store, Harar Coffee, has to do with the place where I was born and raised: Harar, Ethiopia. Our house was surrounded by a piece of land where 100 coffee bushes stood. We share the proceeds with family, neighbors and friends. My parents taught me how to maintain the bushes with water and manure, and what were good beans and what not, and how you could roast them, and grind them. So I really grew up with coffee: it is my passion, it is my everything.
I travel to Ethiopia once or twice a year to smell, taste, select and pick the coffee beans to the Netherlands. I know the country, the areas, the farmers like no other. That means that I am always able to deliver the best coffee that is available at that moment.