The world is so full of meanness and madness that it's easy to forget about the good stuff, like Biftu Gudina.
Only a few years ago, in 2012, this was just the beginning of a co-op. The good people at international NGO Technoserve introduced us, so we had visited a few times before their second harvest even came in. This remote community stood to vastly improve their lives, if they could succeed at establishing their own mill.
Here's some of an email we sent from Ethiopia in early 2013, a week after opening The Mill, then catching a ride to SFO:
"We used an old Starbucks mobile cupping kit and cupped with the farmers at Biftu Gudina. We cupped five coffees including theirs, and their descriptors and ranking of the coffees aligned perfectly. Turns out they're great cuppers as well as excellent farmers.
"We knew that if they did a good job they would product stellar coffees, as they are neighbors to some of the more famous mills in Gera. They are indeed amazing."
That was just five years ago. Since then, we've supported them by buying as much of their coffee as we could. We funded the position of a harvest assistant / temporary agronomist to get them over some speed-bumps a couple years ago. And we keep visiting a couple times a year.
We visit to trade ideas for continued improvement, and ensure that everyone shares justly in Biftu's success. But we also visit because in this crazy world, Biftu Gudina makes us happy.