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Dikitu stands as the name of a village situated in the Dimtu district of Guji, Oromia. This marks the second harvest we are featuring this washed lot and the inspiring team behind it. Gizaw Alemayehu and Frehiwot Mekonnen, a husband-and-wife team, are setting new standards for Ethiopian Guji coffee through their pioneering efforts in supporting local coffee communities. Their company, named G&F, operates ten coffee processing facilities, providing employment for both permanent and seasonal workers during the peak harvest season.
The journey to Dikitu is no small feat, involving a day and a half drive from Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. The region is characterized by rolling hills, fertile soil, and a relatively sparse population compared to its more renowned coffee neighbour, Yirgacheffe. The cultivation of coffee is a relatively recent development for the Dikitu community, with significant growth in the past decade.
All of the coffee produced in Dikitu adheres to organic farming practices, rooted in traditional methods. Farmers work harmoniously with the environment and its favourable micro-climate, displaying meticulous commitment to delivering high-quality harvests to Gizaw's processing stations.
Gizaw, with a long family history of coffee cultivation, is the driving force behind the coffee processing. He has dedicated his life to the trade, with a particular focus on the washing stations in the villages he collaborates with. His wife, Frehiwot, manages the drying mill in Addis Ababa, playing a vital role in maintaining and enhancing the traceability of the coffee lots sourced from their producing communities.
Families of smallholder farmers actively participate in cherry picking, making multiple passes to select only the ripest cherries. These cherries are then sorted, washed, and de-pulped before being graded based on their quality.
Following de-pulping, the parchment undergoes fermentation and soaking, followed by further sorting based on density. The beans are subsequently dried for 8-15 days on raised beds until they reach 11.5% moisture content.
G&F's involvement in the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) has expanded its influence in the coffee trade within the country and international markets. Their ethical approach extends to supporting local communities by assessing their needs, constructing schools, providing school supplies, and contributing to various community projects. Additionally, G&F pays farmers a premium price for coffee, offers training, supports environmental sustainability, and assists with transportation and healthcare. The company owns a substantial coffee farm in the Southern Region, and its fleet of trucks ensures the timely transport of coffee from farm regions to Addis Ababa and Djibouti's port, contributing to the success of their small yet leading enterprise.