Located in the south of Ethiopia, the Sidama region offers great-quality coffee. Sidama’s coffees have lemon-citric tones with bright acidity. “Ethiopia Sidama” is a type of Arabica coffee grown in the Sidama Province of Ethiopia.
For more information about coffee production in Ethiopia, visit our Ethiopia origin page.
The ECX was started in 2008 to help protect farmers from market forces that might prevent them from making a living. Bumper crops often lead to big price drops, which can make it unprofitable for farmers to harvest their coffee. What the ECX does is commoditize grains—including sesame, beans, maize, wheat, and, most importantly,coffee. This ensures prompt payment to farmers. It also integrates all parts of the “ecosystem” involved in a grains market, including warehousing, grading, trading, and payment. Access to information is emphasized, as farmers can obtain information about trading prices and local delivery points easily through dedicated telephone lines.
Here is a general rundown of how the ECX chain works in Ethiopia:
- Farmers deliver cherry to local wet mills. Some wet mills pay a premium for better-quality cherry, some do not.
- The wet mill then delivers parchment coffee to a delivery station warehouse. In Yirgacheffe, this delivery station is in Dila.
- Coffees are labeled with a region, and then are graded based both on physical qualities as well as cup quality. Higher-quality coffee fetches a higher price.
- An exporter then purchases the coffee through the ECX. The coffee that this exporter purchases will, at most, be labeled as “Yirgacheffe: Konga” or “Sidama: Borena.”
- Once a specific lot is purchased, it is then shipped to the buyer (typically an exporter in Ethiopia).
While this system does ensure prompt payment and streamlines supply chain issues, it removes essentially all traceability from the coffee. This is problematic in the specialty world, where traceability is paramount.
The ECX does not allow for complete traceability, but coffee cooperatives in Ethiopia do have the ability to go around the ECX and export the coffee themselves. Coffees that are exported by a cooperative can have traceability, possibly even to a single farmer.