When we say that we’ve been with Bulga since the beginning, here’s what we mean:
We visited Bulga the very first week its 350 members brought cherry to their clean and shiny new mill. Even back then, the farmers and pickers had obviously adopted a quality-over-quantity ethos: the cherry delivery was... cherry, among the best we’d seen in Ethiopia.
This pre-sorting ensured that this venture was totally on point from day one. These people know a thing or two about starting from scratch; their families had settled in these mountains during the droughts of the 1980s. It was an honor to witness these first steps in a new directions.
We weren’t the only outsiders there. The non-governmental organization TechnoServe had helped the families of Bulga arrange loans and entice local coffee pros from nearby operations. But this operation was above and beyond the combined expertise of the all-star attendees.
We’ve visited often since then, but that first trip from 2013 still sticks out. Bulga felt edenic, gracious and real. The people there were working hard to make something for themselves. The quality and care of their coffee is going to take them there. We remain grateful to be on the receiving end of their efforts, and to have spent those early days with them, in their new home.