ORIGIN STORIES: DANIEL MIJANE AND THE COFFEES OF WORKA SAKARO AND HALO HARTUME
Words by 49th Green Coffee Buyer, David Pohl
MEET: Daniel Mijane (left) & Abezener (right) evaluating last years harvest.
You will find coffees from Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, in everything from our core offerings like Epic and Old School Espresso, down to Single Origin Filter and Smal Lot Series selections
It is no secret that Ethiopia has some of the best coffees on the planet, and since the beginning, 49th Parallel has made this one of our signature origins. Over the past three years we have built a relationship with Daniel Mijane, owner of the Worka Sakaro and Halo Hartume Washing stations, in Gedeb, Yirgacheffe, and our main exporter in Ethiopia, Snap Specialty Coffee, to bring some of the finest Ethiopian coffees to 49th. These relationships continue to flourish and the coming year is looking to be a very good one on multiple levels, despite the challenges imposed by the pandemic.
As we have reported previously, we are unable to travel to origin at the moment and we are adapting our hands-on approach to sourcing, flexing the muscles of technology to continue to fortify our relationships across the globe. Since the pandemic hit we have shored up contracts with key suppliers including Snap-in Ethiopia, using a combination of old fashioned email, as well as the marvels of WhatsApp and Zoom. I recently had the opportunity to meet with both Daniel Mijane and Abenezer Asfaw, Supply Chain Manager for Snap Specialty Coffee, who provided the following updates.
The harvest in Ethiopia this year, including the Gedeb region where we source Daniel’s coffees, is looking like it will be early. Appropriate levels of rainfall and generally good weather mean that coffee cherries are ripening at a good rate, and the harvest should begin near the end of October. Abenezer described this as “fantastic” news, considering how often we have news of delayed harvests and poor weather conditions. Long before these new harvest coffees appear, 49th will have a number of fantastic coffees from Daniel and Snap from the current harvest. Generally, we receive coffees from Ethiopia from April (when we are lucky) through October.
For his part, Daniel Mijane reports that he has taken the lead in his family business and is now manager of their two washing stations in the Gedeb area - Worka Sakaro and Halo Hartume. The Worka Sakaro washing station is located in the southern end of Gedeb, in the Yirgacheffe growing region. It was built in 2011 by the Mijane family at an altitude of 2050 meters above sea level, and receives coffee from 836 farmers in the local area. For me personally the Worka Sakaro this year has been one of the best coffees to cross the cupping table - consistently scoring as one of our best offerings - and was on our menu for a number of months due to its popularity.
Last year, Daniel and his father invested in a new wet mill, that utilizes the mechanical removal of mucilage, requiring much less water than the traditional wet mills and results in coffees with sparkling acidity.
Ten miles away in the northern section of Gedeb, Yirgacheffe, Daniel Mijane runs the Halo Hartume washing station, built by his family in 2015 at 1950 meters above sea level, buying coffee from 498 growers from the local area. Last year Daniel and his father invested in a new wet mill, that utilizes the mechanical removal of mucilage, requiring much less water than the traditional wet mills and results in coffees with sparkling acidity. The coffees of Halo are furthermore characterized by their bold and uniform bean size. You will find this coffee in our Epic Espresso at the moment!
As the buyer for 49th, I am happy to see the investments Daniel and his family are making in their washing stations - the results are evident on the table and we are honored to be able to continue offering these great coffees to our 49th family.