Ethiopia Ashu Syoum Anaerobic Natural

Blueberry, Jasmine, Strawberry Pastry
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This is possibly our most exciting release so far this year, and quite possibly the best Ethiopian coffee we’ve released at Skylark!! It is a truly exceptional coffee. Micah committed to buying the whole lot within about 5 minutes of the team cupping the pre-shipment samples.

As well as being a super high scoring coffee at 90 points, it’s also our first fresh crop Ethiopian of the year. That said, the quality of the coffee is only part of the reason we're so excited.

This coffee comes from Bette Buna, a coffee company based in Ethiopia that we are very excited to start working with. Betta Buna was founded by Hester Westerveld-Syoum and Dawit Syoum when they inherited their grandfather’s two hectare farm in Taferi Kela in Sidamo. They decided to grow and scale the farm so it could become the foundation for a larger company that could have greater impact. Hester and Dawit met doing development work and have previously founded an NGO called Joni that focuses on growing opportunities for entrepreneurship. Coffee is a big deal in Ethiopia. Over 33% of the country's GDP comes from the export of coffee and 80% of that production comes from smallholder farmers with under 2 hectares. When you factor in that the average household size in a region like Sidamo is 9 you can see that it impacts a lot of people! 90% of people working in coffee in Ethiopia don’t make a livable income-- one that allows them to afford healthcare and education let alone luxuries. Bette Buna was formed to meet the obvious need to improve outcomes for smallholders. 

Having started out in 2019, they have already grown considerably.They have grown the Taferi Kela farm from 2 to 50 hectares and they have expanded to a second farm of a similar size in Megadu, Guji (where this lot comes from). Both farms have tree nurseries where varietals are grown for their own use but also for those of surrounding farmers they work collaboratively with and are committed to training in modern farming techniques. Similarly, they have processing facilities where they process their own lots as well as educate farmers in how to do so. They have a ‘Coffee Campus’ programme for training people to be coffee workers, not only in these areas of growing and processing but also roasting, brewing and even exporting, as it is their understanding that for the industry to grow sustainably it needs to professionalise. There is so much that is exciting about Bette Buna that I can’t do it justice in a listing for a coffee. I’d highly recommend heading over to their website and reading more about them. We’ll also be posting longer blog posts on them and their amazing work.

But to focus back on the coffee for a moment, this one is a 96 hour anaerobic natural, processed by Dawit Syoum along with Sisay Tadesse who are in charge of processing at Bette Buna. Processing coffees as ‘anaerobics,’ or that is to say with a primary fermentation prior to drying in a sealed low oxygen environment, is relatively new for Bette Buna. They only first started processing them last year, making this year their second year of producing them. They followed lots of information they found on the web, chatted to other producers, watched and listened to podcasts and figured things out as best as they could. There is a lot of risk with new processing as of course if it goes wrong the coffee could be perhaps not very good, or worse, unusable. Thankfully last year's anaerobics were good and this year's exceptional. We purchased this lot and as I said up top, it’s incredibly good, we also purchased another that we’ll be releasing later this summer, also very good. (If you are reading this and have a roastery, definitely reach out to them for green samples!) 

When Dawit was born, his grandparents gave him the nickname Ashu which means ‘Great Satisfaction.’ Bette Buna give their anaerobic lots the name ‘Ashu’ not only because they make for greatly satisfying cups of coffee, but also because like Dawit there is a lot of ingenuity, hard work, and a certain amount of luck that brought these coffees into being! Dawit ‘Ashu’ Syoum and his anaerobic lots really exemplify the Bette Buna belief that anything is possible! 

Picture 1: Dawit Syoum harvesting ripe coffee cherries
Picture 2: Sisay Tadesse standing next to anaerobic fermentation barrels
Picture 3: Sisay Tadesse and Hester Westerveld-Syoum

Elevation: 1900-2200 MASL
Varietal: 74112, 74110 & Enat Buna Megadu
Cup score: 90
Price paid per kg: £17.85
Process: 96hr Anaerobic Natural