Farmers participating in the International Coffee Partners project in Ethiopia face equal challenges as those in other countries. But one thing is different: they are much more familiar to drinking coffee. Ethiopia has a well established tradition in celebrating a coffee ceremony. Almost half of Ethiopia’s coffee production is used for national consumption.

Roasting and drinking their own coffee is something new to millions of smallholder farmers around the world including Indonesia. To be trained to roast their own coffee is therefor a fresh subject for farmers in the ICP-project in Gunung Raya village, OKU Selatan District, Indonesia. „Since they used to sell green beans to the middlemen, trying to sell roasted coffee is a new step forward for farmers,“ explains Adrian Bolliger who is Country Manager from ICP’s implementing partner Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS). Led by this situation and triggered by the idea for farmers to reach consumers directly, the local ICP-team has held training for farmers about coffee roasting and establishing business plan to sell roasted coffee.

During a recent training about 60 farmers – dominated by women – gathered, sitting tightly in a small living room of a stage house. Coffee and local snacks were served to accompany farmers learning about coffee roasting. Led by Posko and Heri from the HRNS Indonesia team, the training was opened by asking the farmers, why they drink coffee. Farmers were throwing their answes to the forum. “To energize ourselves”, a farmer shouted. Others answered “so we don’t get dizzy”, “to enjoy our own effort” or “to be more active”. But when asked if they enjoy their own coffee more than the one they buy in stores, they turn silent. Triggered by these questions, farmers and the trainer discuss about the quality of their coffee. „If farmers could harvest their coffee and do the post-harvesting process properly, it is guaranteed that the taste of their coffee will be better,” says Bolliger. “And by that they can sell their coffee for better prices in the local markets.”

Besides learning how to roast coffee, farmers are also trained to make a business plan. Not only for the roasting process itself. They also calculate the costs for packaging and branding. The comparison of profit between selling green bean and roasted coffee was also provided by the trainers. Farmers can quadruple their income by selling roasted coffee.

In the practical part of the training, farmers learn how to roast the coffee in a way to be able to do it easily in their own homes. How to use the gas stove, what pan is good for roasting, the proper colour for the roasted coffee, the amount of time, and the proper level of fire in the stove – all is discussed during the training. But Bolliger knows that just as in all parts of ICP’s hands-on project approach also in this one, it is not enough with theoretic knowledge: “Farmers also get the chance to try the roasting process for themselves.“ One of the female farmers explained, “it was heavy to keep stirring the pan, but I think it would be easier once I get used to it”. While the nice and smooth smell of freshly roasted coffee fills the room, farmers have the chance to directly try out the result. „Here starts the next important part of this experience: brewing up coffee in a proper way,” says HRNS trainer Posko. Not only black coffee. Farmers also learned to make a Latte by using steamed milk.

Yulmari is a 41 year old female farmer who came 1.5 hours by motorbike to reach the training. She was very enthusiastic by the results: “I want to start trying to sell 5 kg roasted coffee. I asked the trainer about the proper packaging. I will start to sell to people around me. If it succeed, I could sell the coffee online to reach more customers”.

Additional Field Notes

Coffee Break Ep.5 – Youth in Uganda

Coffee Break Episode 5: Youth in Uganda Youth in UgandaWe invite you to take a Coffee Break with us! As a non-profit, here at International Coffee Partners (ICP) each ICP-shareholder has motivations and aims that we therefor jointly put into practice with our work in...

One Step Forward for Smallholder Coffee Farmers to Reach Consumers with roasted coffee

Farmers participating in the International Coffee Partners project in Ethiopia face equal challenges as those in other countries. But one thing is different: they are much more familiar to drinking coffee. Ethiopia has a well established tradition in celebrating a...

Coffee Break Ep. 4 – Youth

We invite you to take a Coffee Break with us to better understand the motivations and aims behind each ICP shareholder, other partners, and of course, farmers. So join us, pull up a seat, grab a cup of your favorite coffee, and enjoy this important Coffee Break! Today we join Chairperson of International Coffee Partners (ICP) and Chair of Löfbergs of Sweden, Kathrine Löfberg who has devoted her career to working with youth.

Coffee Break Ep.3 – Climate Change in Central America

Coffee BreakEpisode 3: Climate Change in Central AmericaThe Video Overview In our last episode, Giuseppe Lavazza from our shareholder Lavazza spoke about the crucial work ICP is doing to address climate change. In this episode, we go to the source, farmers in Central...

Coffee Break Ep.2 – Climate

Coffee BreakEpisode 2: ClimateThe Video Overview Lavazza, a founding member of International Coffee Partners, sits down for this edition of Coffee Break to discuss the importance of climate. Giuseppe Lavazza, explains the work ICP has been doing in the field to combat...

Coffee Break Ep.1 – Sustainability

Coffee Break Episode 1: SustainabilityThe Video Overview Lenita Ingelin, Managing Director of the Paulig Coffee Division, kicks off our new series titled "Coffee Break." With this series, we will have meaningful conversations with ICP shareholders, partners, and...