Partnered with Stumptown
Duromina is truly a shining success. They’ve redefined the quality of coffee in the region and continue to inspire new cooperatives in nearby villages.
For a lot of co-ops, we end up buying around 10% of the beans we taste. For the Duromina Cooperative, it’s around 90%.
This co-op is rapidly expanding, but as it does, they keep the same meticulous attention to detail. Farmers will bring their best cherry because they know they’ll get a high, fair price.
Although a relatively new co-op, they won first place at the 2012 African Taste of Harvest competition for their coffee.
It’s a 30-hour trip to get to the remote Agaro district of the Jimma zone. A six hour van ride through lush green mountains ends at the village, where our Coffee Sourcing team often enjoys traditional Ethiopian feasts of goat. The soil there is a bright red-orange and stains everything. One of our sourcing team members reports that after he got back, he washed his black t-shirt twice, and it’s still just as orange as when they left the village.
This area was formerly known for low-grade coffee. Although the potential for great coffee was always there, it was being held up by poor processing. As one expert put it, think of coffee as the view and processing as the window you’re looking through. If the window’s dirty, you won’t be able to see the beauty and the details. But Duromina has turned all that around. In 2010, they took out a loan for a new washing station. The term of the loan was four years, but they paid it off the very next year.
Duromina, which means ‘improve their lives’ in the Afan Oromo language, was formed in 2010 by 113 farmers who wanted to do just that. Immediately thereafter, they received a loan from the bank, constructed a wet mill, and started processing washed coffee. From Stumptown’s purchases in 2011, Duromina paid off their entire investment loan for their washing station in one year instead of the planned four years. This positive growth has inspired two new cooperatives in nearby villages.
The coffee cherries are depulped using a Penagos 1500, demucilaged and soaked overnight in cold water. Spring water flows down a 500 meter channel and across a valley (spanned by wooden chutes) to reach the wet mill site. The clean parchment is then dried in the sun for 7-10 days until fully dry. Each day lot is bagged separately.
Throughout the first year, membership doubled while members earned 50% higher prices by bringing their cherry to the cooperative. The village used to be inaccessible during the rainy season, but the cooperative, working with the government, co-funded a road project that was completed in 2011. Most farmers now have tin roofs on their houses. In the near future, they plan to build a bridge over the new road. They’re working on bringing electricity to their village, and finishing constructing a local health clinic.
Duromina farmers say they used to be at the mercy of local traders. “They would give the farmers in our area a lower price by saying that coffee from ‘after the river’ was not good. Now we know the truth. Now we are the ones benefiting from our coffee.” Stumptown is excited to be involved with the advancements of a few of the cooperatives in this region.
The Duromina Cooperative has consistently exhibited excellent management practices which have increased production and raised membership to 136. They have a long term plan to continue to expand and entice more membership with competitive prices. They know their budget and plan ahead how to utilize premium payments. They completed building their second washing station with a Penagos 2500 demucilager. They situated it in a new area on the other side of Boto, a nearby village, which increased cherry delivery efficiency and helped decrease bottle necking collection issues. They also expanded cherry collection sites throughout the community which eases cherry drop off and decentralizes the process. They purchased a dual purpose school bus that brings their kids to school and provides a way to transport cherry from various sites to the washing stations.
In 2014, The Duromina Cooperative increased their membership to 271 in keeping with their long term plan to continue to expand and entice more membership with competitive prices. They know their budget and plan ahead on how to utilize premium payments. They plan to build a third washing station with some of their premiums from this year.