The Duromina co-operative washing stations are financially beneficial for the farmer members whilst producing award-winning coffees. They have some hundred members delivering coffee cherries for processing, plus non-members who sell their coffee to the washing stations too. The members receive a second payment after harvest once the coffee has been milled and graded for quality.
The aim of the Duromina co-operative is to increase sustainability and quality in the area, through transparent and environmentally friendly production and increased premiums for the producers. They use eco-pulpers and have built water treatment systems based on the densely tufted, Veviter grass which naturally filters the water from production before it is pumped into lagoons to be absorbed into the earth. A farmer training programme and traceability system have also been implemented.
The coffee cherries come from Quedamesa smallholders in the region around the town of Agaro in the Jimma region of western Ethiopia. The average smallholder farm size is half a hectare but there are some farms up to 3 hectares, which is a large farm by Ethiopian standards. A farmer typically has less than 1500 trees per hectare. One tree typically produces coffee cherries equal to 100 - 200 grams of green coffee.
Coffee cherries are harvested by family members, then hand-sorted to remove unripe and overripe cherries before they are delivered to the washing station for processing. A Penagos Eco Pulper removes the skin, pulp and mucilage. This machine removes mucilage without the need to ferment the coffee. After the mucilage is mechanically removed, the coffee is soaked in clean water in concrete tanks for between 3 and 10 hours.
A Penargos Eco Pulper removes the skin, pulp and mucilage from the coffee beans
The coffees are taken from the concrete tanks and skin dried and sorted under shade for about 6 hours after soaking. After skin drying it is moved out in the sun and dried for about 1- days on African drying beds on shade nets or hessian cloths. Coffees are covered in plastic or shade nets during midday and at night. After drying, the coffees will be packed in jute bags before being moved to the port and straight on a vessel in Djibouti.
Sorting the coffees for any defects
The coffee beds are shaded at night and during the midday heat