Halo Hartume is a community near Gedeb and Kochere, two coffee-famous districts in Ethiopia’s coveted Gedeo Zone. Gedeo, named after the Gedeo people indigenous to the area, is a narrow section of highland plateau dense with savvy farmers and fiercely competitive processors whose coffee is known the world over as “Yirgacheffe” after the zone’s most famous district and central town.
For decades, Yirgacheffe has been considered a benchmark for beauty and complexity in arabica coffee, known for being jasmine-like when thoroughly washed and punchy and sweet when sundried.
This coffee from a family-run independent washing station in Halo Hartume is no exception. It’s big and sweet, with layers of grapefruit and lavender-like floral tones. For its first few years, the station sold coffee the way most producers in the area did: through the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX), where government cuppers would grade and position the coffee for sale to exporters.
Today, Daniel Mijane runs most day-to-day operations at the family’s two private stations (the other is in Worka Sakaro, in the southeastern corner of Gedeb), the exporting itself, and the coffee has become his namesake. Halo Hartume’s contributing farmers number almost 400, and farm sizes range from 1 to 10 hectares. The Mijane family’s involvement with farmers begins long before harvest in harvest training and the establishment of seasonal collection sites—local delivery points that reduce overland travel for farmers and provide a quality inspection point for the washing station.
During harvest season, bulk deliveries come in from the collection sites around 6 pm. Halo Hartume conducts a final inspection for uniform ripeness, foreign matter, and overall quality before admitting cherry to the tables for drying. Once transported, the cherry will dry in the sun, continuously rotated, and aerated for 1-2 weeks. Naturals at Halo Hartume are typically covered during the hottest hours of the day, 11:00 am and 3:00 pm when the sun’s intensity risks creating mold or uneven humidity across even a single layer of cherry.
Private processors like Halo Hartume are a thing to behold. The sheer competition among washing stations tends to push cherry prices as high as double throughout a single harvest. Privates often don’t have the backing of a larger union to secure financing, regulate cherry prices, or bring export costs down with centralized milling and marketing. It’s a tricky business being a remote processor in Gedeo.