We’ve called this coffee a lot of names. In 2010, we got samples of it as “Washed Lekempti.” Through years of research and a few visits, we discovered it was “Wollega Wato,” then “Leka Wato.” In 2016, we finally gave up, and just started calling it what it is: Sunshine in a Cup.
All those names point to the trickiness of establishing direct relationships with producers. To wit, we only knew this coffee as “Washed Lekempti” because that’s how one importer chose to label it. Back then, most of the region’s washed coffee got lumped together under the name of that nearby trading post.
We were determined to track down this coffee. A full-day drive from dusty Nekempte up into the lush mountains—abetted by a few roadside strangers offering directions, and one very patient driver—brought us to Tolu Jibat, the manager. That was six years ago.
We’ve been tightening our relationship ever since then. Last year, we invited Tolu to cup with us in the town’s lab. This year, he was the one who drove the four hours into town to meet us. He even used his Oromo / English skills in a group discussion with us and the leadership of the Biftu Gudina cooperative.
After six years, we think we’ve got it straight: We’ll call Wato “Sunshine in a Cup,” and we’ll call Tolu an old friend.