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”.