onenumberandpowerball|Feature: Ethiopia's time-honored coffee embraces vibrant business at home, abroad

super2024-06-30 03:05:296Business

by Xinhua writers Habtamu Workuonenumberandpowerball, Liu Fangqiang

ADDIS ABABA, June 29 (Xinhua) -- Hand-picked by farmers throughout Ethiopia, coffee beans are sun-dried, hand-washed, roasted, ground, and then brewed multiple times a day in most householdsonenumberandpowerball. The East African country's centuries-old coffee culture is rapidly evolving by combining cultural elements with business.

Often regarded as the birthplace of the now global coffee beans, Ethiopia is famous for its traditional coffee ceremony, which can last for hours. It also serves as an important social event, allowing relatives and friends to get together and discuss community matters. Being invited to a coffee ceremony by an Ethiopian family is considered a gesture of great respect.

While Ethiopia's time-honored coffee traditions and rituals thrive at household and community levels, with a touch of modernization, the coffee value chain has, in recent years, evolved into a more modern approach that blends cultural elements with business.

Thanks to the rapid growth of the coffee business, one can stumble upon countless traditional and contemporary coffee shops across cities and towns in Ethiopia, each offering a unique experience.

Senait Amare is one of the traditional coffee shop owners in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. While she prepares and serves coffee on site, roasting and brewing raw beans, her customers have to wait their turn in a small makeshift shop erected in one of the residential neighborhoods of the city.

"I am mostly busy serving coffee to my customers during breakfast and lunch times, as many people want to have a cup of coffee or two right after their meals," Amare said.

A cup of top-notch coffee in one of these small traditional coffee shops, often run by a single woman, would cost between 15 and 20 birr (about 26 to 34 U.S. cents). In contrast, a single cup of coffee or espresso in the fast-growing modern coffee shops, which have recently been frequented by a growing number of Ethiopians, mainly young people, would cost an average of three to five times more than in traditional coffee shops.

As a vivid reflection of the cultural tapestry, Amare's and other traditional coffee shops often add select herbs to the coffee, such as the fresh leaves of Ruta Graveolens, commonly known as Rue, for their perceived health benefits.

Amare insisted that her profit is the result of many factors, one of which is the volatile price of raw coffee beans. On average, she sells at least 70 cups of coffee per day at 20 birr per cup.

"Until recently, I sold a cup of coffee for 15 birr, but due to the rising cost of raw coffee beans and living expenses, I had to raise the price to 20 birr. The price increase deters some of my customers, but most of my regulars still come every day," she said.

Meanwhile, the growing demand for a more modern, Western-style coffee service has also created a lucrative business opportunity for companies that operate large-scale coffee processing factories.

One such case is Hadero Coffee Company, which joined Ethiopia's rapidly growing coffee value-addition business about four years ago. Named after a small coffee-producing town in the southern part of Ethiopia, the company specializes in value-addition to Ethiopia's coffee industry with a motto of "from bean-to-cup."

onenumberandpowerball|Feature: Ethiopia's time-honored coffee embraces vibrant business at home, abroad

Mubarek Ahmed, the company's director of business development, noted that although Hadero's main goal is to increase exports of its processed coffee products to the international market, the domestic coffee market is equally important to the company's business.

"One unique thing about Ethiopia is that we consume a lot of coffee. An average person in Ethiopia consumes about three cups of coffee a day," said Ahmed, highlighting Ethiopia's vibrant coffee culture.

One of the major export destinations for Ethiopian coffee is the Chinese market, where sales have increased by an average of 27 percent in recent years, according to an Ethiopian official.

Adugna Debela, director general of the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority, said a few years ago, Ethiopia exported 8,000 to 10,000 metric tons of coffee annually to China, which was then ranked 33rd among importers of Ethiopian coffee.

"However, China has been importing up to 20,000 metric tons of Ethiopian coffee annually for the past two years, becoming the eighth-largest importer of Ethiopian coffee," Debela said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Debela said the China International Import Expo and cross-border e-commerce platforms, which serve as effective gateways for overseas brands to enter China, have presented numerous opportunities for Ethiopian coffee beans to gain popularity in the Chinese market.

Talking about the coffee sector's performance during the current Ethiopian fiscal year, Debela said Ethiopia has exported 252,000 metric tons of coffee to the world market, earning 1.28 billion U.S. dollars in the first 11 months of the 2023/2024 Ethiopian fiscal year that ends on July 7, 2024.

Ethiopia, regarded as the origin of Arabica coffee, is one of Africa's largest producers and exporters of the commodity. Coffee production is dubbed as the backbone of the country's agriculture-led economy. Widely recognized for its rich coffee quality and flavors, ranging from winy to fruity and chocolatey, the country's coffee is in high demand across the globe.

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