We know, Duromina is one of those names you have probably seen everywhere already. With good reason though, there is just no denying that this cooperative puts out damn fine coffees year after year!
Background on the Duromina cooperative
The Duromina cooperative was created in 2010 by a group of 113 coffee producers in an isolated region near the town of Agaro in Jimma. The Jimma region in southwestern Ethiopia is infamous for its low-quality production of the Djimma 5 grade. The grade is synonymous with poorly produced and processed natural coffee. A low quality that pairs with low selling prices for the coffee, both nationally and internationally. The producers joined forces to change their lives and future, an ambition reflected in the name choice for the cooperative. Duromina literally means “to become rich” in the local language.
Enter Technoserve. The Technoserve Coffee Initiative is an American development project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Technoserve gives support on various levels to poor agricultural communities across the world. Read more about the Duromina project on their web page. For Ethiopia, the goal of the project was simple but audacious: to double the household income of 1 million farmers. A big goal, for sure. But one worth pursuing, and one which Kata Muduga continues to address on a daily basis.
The Duromina cooperative is part of the Kata Muduga Multipurpose Farmers’ Cooperative Union. Kata Muduga is the umbrella organization supporting some of the biggest and best coffee-producing cooperatives in Ethiopia today. It’s also one of the most farmer-focused Unions. It consistently generates some of the highest prices paid to farmers in the country! The Union’s General Manager, Asnake Nigat, has been part of the story of these coffees from the beginning. Asnake was a business advisor with the Technoserve Coffee Initiative, a development project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Washed processing at the Duromina washing station follows the traditional Ethiopian methods. An initial cherry screening through flotation and a visual check holds back unwanted cherries. The depulper tears off the cherry skin and some mucilage. Next, the coffee ferments under water for 36 to 72 hours. In this period, the water is changed 3 times.
Once the mucilage has broken down sufficiently, the coffee is released into the washing channel for cleaning. During this step, the station’s staff pushes the coffee through channels. This separates the coffee in parchment quality grades according to its density. Remaining floaters are easily removed. Once clean, the highest parchment grade passes through an additional soaking phase of 8 to 12 hours.
Finally, the wet parchment is carried out to the drying field. During the first day of drying, the parchment rests on the pre-drying tables to let the excess water run off. Here, detecting and removing defects when the coffee is still wet is easier. After one day, the drying field staff transfers the wet parchment to other tables where it will dry for up to 12 days. During this period, they regularly turn the parchment to ensure even drying and to avoid defects. Once dried, the coffees rest in a warehouse until the cooperative finds a buyer.
For more info about coffee in Ethiopia, visit our Ethiopia origin page.