The Jabanto group formed in 2017, after changes in the Ethiopian coffee policy permitted smallholder farmers to be able to directly export and sell their coffees. The group has worked hard to build an enterprising business from scratch and their commitment to careful harvesting and processing each year results in some of our favorite offerings. This year’s production of Jabanto Natural Sundried tastes like blueberry, chocolate, and honey.
Kurume, Dega, Wolisho and JARC CBD resistant coffee varieties
Through mid-December 2021
This coffee is the result of a unique and evolving supply stream. The local trade policies in Ethiopia have shifted our purchasing strategies over the years, as we strive to source quality coffees from traceable supply streams and foster sustainability over time. In 2011, the Ethiopian coffee export policy required that most coffees be blended and sold by regional grade; only cooperatives or large estates were allowed to directly market their coffees. From 2011-2017, we purchased almost exclusively from cooperatives, including single-farmer microlots from their members.
In 2017, the Ethiopian government implemented a new policy which made it possible for smallholder coffee farmers to directly market their coffees. This was a good business opportunity, but also involved a lot of red tape. On top of cultivating and processing coffees, farmers would need to undergo documentation-heavy processes to obtain export licenses, negotiate and arrange logistics like transportation and milling, and find buyers. Despite all the complexities, a group of farmers that we knew from working with their cooperative union really wanted to make it happen and, in 2018, Counter Culture and the farmers hired the G Broad consulting company to coordinate the process.
The group named themselves Jabanto, which means “stronger together” translated from Gedeofa, the official language of the Gedeo people. This year, Jabanto counts 87 farmer members. These farmers harvest their coffees independently, but work together to deal with all business matters regarding export. This is our fourth year working in this supply stream to buy the group’s coffee.