Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, and is home to some of the most famous historic coffee regions: Yirgacheffe, Sidamo, Limu and Harar. No self-respecting coffee roaster would be without a quality Ethiopian coffee in their range.
Our connection with Ethiopian coffee goes back beyond the birth of Dark Woods Coffee, when Ian and Damian collaborated on the Oromo Coffee Company initiative, with Oromo refugees, resettled in the UK. Damian has been working with Ethiopian producers and exporters for many years. In 2010, Ian worked on a climate-change research project in Harar, interviewing coffee farmers from around the region on how they had been impacted by the changing weather patterns they were experiencing.
The latest chapter in our Ethiopian journey involves Ardent Coffee and its founder, Ashenafi. Over the past few years we have built a strong relationship with Ashenafi Argaw and his team at Ardent Coffee exporters in Ethiopia. We have known Ashenafi since his time working with renowned growers and exporters Ninety Plus Coffee, where he was behind some of the most distinctive coffees to come out of Ethiopia in recent years. It has been a great experience to begin working with him directly, since he branched out on his own and founded Ardent.
Our relationship with Ardent is truly direct; we work with Ashenafi, to agree the regions, coffees and producers to work with over the coming season. Once we have sampled and agreed which coffees to purchase, Ardent arrange a container, load the coffee and we wait for the ship to make the journey from Djibouti to the UK. Then it is all hands to the deck unloading the container, by hand, when it arrives on the back of a lorry.
Through our trading with Ardent, we have been introduced to some amazing new producer groups and fantastic coffees. You can view Ardent's coffees, along with those from our partners in Yemen, here.