Ethiopia Hambela Buku
Seventy-five kilometers beyond Yirgacheffe in Guji lies the farm Hambela, a 200-hectare coffee farm that includes a wet mill, dry mill, drying beds, and parchment storage. It's an amazing operation that we have had the opportunity to visit multiple times. It's not the most pleasant trip. Thirty hours of air travel to get to Addis Adaba, Ethiopia from Arkansas and then add a 20-hour car ride through some of the worst "roads" you have ever experienced. We don't mind it because the coffee is definitely worth it.
Three brothers own Hambela: Aman, Michael, and Tariku Adinew and they also own and run METAD. METAD is an incredible Ethiopian coffee company that specializes in high-end specialty coffee. The property belonged to their parents and had been abandoned for decades until they invested and reclaimed the old family tradition of coffee farming. The farm is certified organic, and the brothers have a tremendous heart for people and quality coffee. Within Hambela, there are multiple cherry drop spots. Out of all these micro-lots of the farm, Buku is our favorite. When visiting the cupping lab in Addis at METAD's HQ, we cup over all their offerings blind, which means we don't know what we are currently tasting and every year we select the Buku micro-lot without even knowing. There is something about the cup profile that is almost emotional when we taste it at this point. It brings back memories of my first sourcing trip to Ethiopia years ago and encompasses the magic and love we have for East Africa.
METAD, HAMBELA, & THE ADINEWS by Jon
I met Michael at an SCAA event back in 2013. He was probably the friendliest person I have ever met. We discussed his coffee farm, and I happened to be headed to Ethiopia at the beginning of the year, so a plan was made to visit. That visit turned out to be an incredibly fruitful trip (pun intended) as we contracted more coffee from a single farm than we ever had at the time. Five years later, we are in a full swing partnership and are so proud to represent the hard work, history, and quality the Adinews bring to specialty coffee. Michael now lives in the Bay area while his other two brothers reside in Addis Adaba. They have gone on to build a school in Hambela, supporting more than 400 students, and they supplement the salaries of the teachers.
We are very proud to say that this our first full container to import ourselves from East Africa this year. It was a stressful process for us, complete with new terms and learning. The Adinews were crucial in helping us understand the process and be successful. We hope this marks a new beginning for us having more of a hand in the transport of our coffees from origin to our roastery.
Wanna know more about how we brew? Then visit our brew methods page cause "this is how we brew it" (think Montell Jordan when reading that last part).
FILTER - Hario V60
14g Coffee : 240g Water 202°F
~3:00 Drain Time
- 40g bloom for 30s
- @30s pour 80g
- @1:15 pour 60g
- @2:00 pour 60g
Apart from the bloom, pour heavy circles centered on the middle of the brew bed. Your final pour can spiral to saturate the entire coffee bed. Allow each pour to fully drain through the coffee bed before starting your next pour. If you find yourself ready to pour at the indicated times, but there is still standing water then grind coarser for your next brew. If you find the water has completely drained through the coffee bed and is dry before you next pour then grind finer for your next brew. This recipe is the 4:6 Method developed by Tetsu Kasuya. He has in-depth instructions on the methodology online (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmCW8xSWGZY); however, you will notice slight differences with this particular coffee. Enjoy!
This coffee exhibits that which we have grown to love about the washed Hambela Buku each and every year. The citrus lime acidity is there, but not as prominent as in previous harvests. Instead, we experienced lovely white peach, white flowers (like honeysuckle), lime, and black tea. As the coffee cools, you’ll notice the black tea transition into a pleasant malt finish. While this is a washed Ethiopian coffee, the body is silky and round. Surprisingly sweet, this makes for a fantastically delicate yet structured cup experience. You’ll find this coffee is also tasty with our standard Kalita Wave recipe, but we enjoyed how the cup experience was so unique through this brew method. If you under-extract this coffee, it is likely to taste weak and tart. While if you over-extract the coffee, it tastes dusty dry, like black tea leaves, and overripe stonefruit.
ESPRESSO - Modbar EP
Brew Temp: 198°F, Line Pressure: ~3.5 bars, Max Pressure: 9 bars
Pressure Profile: 0 sec to 4 sec - line pressure, from 4 sec till done - 9 bars
19g in : ~40g out @ ~30s
Another year of Buku for Onyx! We are excited for our continued partnership with the Hambela estate, and their washed Buku exceeds expectations. You'll notice similarities between this and previous expressions with a prominent note of lime. Apart from lime, we enjoyed flavors of stone fruit and black tea. With milk, the dominant note becomes peach with a malt chocolate finish. Be wary of under-extracting this coffee; you will taste tart citrus rind. Over-extracting this coffee isn't terrible, but it'll taste like prunes and bitter cacao tea.
Ethiopia Hambela Buku
This is a Relationship Coffee from our friends at METAD in Ethiopia. We’ve been working with Aman, Tariku, and Michael Adinew (METAD) for five years now. METAD not only owns the famed Hambela farm we purchase from but also helps source other coffees and owns a washing station in Gedeb. We are really excited about their dry mill project they have started. And now they are working on a project in Limu and Sidama. This vertical integration is inspiring and showcases their commitment to quality coffees.
This year we purchased an entire container from them full of mixed micro-lots and have discussed the possibility of a second box as well. We paid $4.25/lb FOB for this coffee which we cupped as an 88.5. We purchased one hundred and twenty 69-kilo bags of the washed Buku and brought in the container ourselves. We wired the full amount for Buku, and the other coffees we purchased from METAD, to them before coffee left Ethiopia to help share risk and trust.
Recently we have been working on some data to show what it’s like to bring in your own container. Hopefully, this will bring clarity to other roasters who are looking to import their own coffee in the future and help farmers, consumers, and other coffee enthusiasts understand the industry we have all grown to love. Speaking honestly for myself, the data listed below, I had been searching for when I scanned the internet, asked importers/exporters, and other coffee professionals for years but to no avail. Brand vulnerability isn’t a bad thing, and I just don’t think this type of information can hurt the industry or create competitors. I hope that it empowers other roasters to import or producers to export.
Coffee is transported from origin to the US, or other countries, using shipping containers. There are two types of containers you can use for coffee: 20’ and 40’ long. Most use the 40’ box for efficiency reasons, and it can hold 44,000lb’s of coffee give or take.
There are many small fees throughout the coffee chain to bring a container of coffee to our roastery. While there are many small and large costs associated with the movement of such a massive volume, we have broken them down into four categories and have listed the amounts below.
The first cost is CUSTOMS/EXPORT, which involves things like harbor maintenance fees, FDA filing fees, insurance, agency fees, broker fees, annual bonds, and importer security. $1,713.87 was the total price for all these fees for moving the box from Ethiopia to a port in the states.
The second cost accrued is what we list as MISC SHIPPING LINES. Included in this are the ocean freight cost, low sulfur fuel tax, bunker recovery, and terminal handling charges. While these terms might seem confusing, you can read in an upcoming blog post all the definitions and more detail. These are charges while the coffee is on the water and normal handling and freight fees for the shipper. Total for all these charges was $1,956.
The third is CANAL TRUCKING, which is precisely what it sounds like and comes to $439.60.
The fourth and final section we had is ARRIVALS/GROUND, which includes port fees and unloading the container. In this case, it was Dupuy in Houston. Once unloaded they are sorted by micro-lots and palletized in groups of 10-12 depending on the bag size. Imagine unloading three hundred 150lb bags of coffee… We then used Schneider Trucking to bring all those pallets to our roastery here in Rogers, Arkansas. The total paid for this section was $2,814.91.
All together it cost $6,924.96 to bring coffee to our door. That brings the total cost of purchasing and logistics to about $189,320.00, give or take a few dollars. All to purchase around 43,000lbs of the best coffee Ethiopia has to offer.
We are honored to showcase the hard work of METAD and the Adinew brothers. I also want to give a big thanks and shout out to Michael Adinew for his encouragement, consulting, and overall kindness. Look for a new blog post on our website for more details and other aspects of transparency in the coffee industry.
• The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $0.94/lb when we purchased this coffee.
• The Fair Trade Coffee minimum price was $1.60/lb when we purchased this coffee.
We as a company believe transparency is unbelievably important. However, we decided only to list what is shown here because we don’t know where to stop. Do we list the amount of coffee lost in roasting due to moisture loss? Should we list our roaster Mark's salary? The warehouse rent? The utilities? The point of listing things above is not to justify what we charge or what we profit, but to give a realistic snapshot of the industry and how Specialty Coffee can be different than other commodity industries. If you have concerns feel free to email us and I’ll write you back when I’m available.
Relationship Coffee is an initiative we, at Onyx, have purposely created to describe our sourcing and buying practices and how we document them. Certifications like Direct Trade, Fair Trade, and others have impacted the coffee communities in mostly positive ways but also in some negative ways. We find that blanket terms and applying them to a multitude of business models no longer describes what we do.
In reality, every company is different, and we wanted to step out from the mold and create a new set of standards that exceeds in every department from quality to transparency to pricing. The growers, exporters, importers, associations, cooperatives, and other entities are always a set of relationships. To be honest, many are our friends as much as they are our producers and partners. We share information, family news, meals, housing, many faiths, and argue politics. Oh, and we love it. Relationship Coffee for Onyx is the mark of an honest exchange ethos that permeates our company, and we hope it encourages the growth of specialty coffee for the future.
We visited the farm or cupping lab and listened to the producer/agronomist or head cooperative/association to ascertain better knowledge about the culture and practices.
We cupped the coffee, and it scored to our industry-high standards.
We do not buy futures or multiple harvests to ensure that what we cupped for that year is what we serve.
We do not ask for exclusivity from producers, binding their options.
We pay what the coffee is worth. This always is at least double Fair Trade minimum due to the quality we buy, and many times is three to ten times the amount.
We do not finance any coffee. Cash flow is just as important as the final price. Coffee is paid in full upon delivery, and we pay a percentage upfront upon contracting.
We are completely transparent from price to logistics to cupping score, to who we work with buying and shipping coffee.
We work to set premiums after a contracted price to incentivize quality and community building. This can be .10¢ - .25¢ extra per pound or community projects such as school supplies in the growing village, sports jerseys, vented chimneys for kitchen fires, etc.