“I don’t consider myself just a coffee farmer, because for me coffee is everything. All my time and energy are placed in the berries that I collect. “
This is the story of Tesfaye Bekele, one of the people who insert Guji on the coffee map, an area originally dominated by farmers, and who was looking for new activities for the population who lived there, after that, from 1997 to 1999, this area was devastated by large fires that destroyed 5000 acres of forest.
Tesfaye had the great responsibility to rebuild this territory finding new solutions for the population, who, after the fires, had returned to these lands to convert them into agricultural fields, producing teff and corn in particular. Tesfaye, as official responsible for government, realized that he had to give them an alternative, and decided to replant the forests, also adding coffee trees to differentiate the cultivation of the land.
Tesfaye thus became a coffee farmer randomly deciding to distribute a large number of coffee plants in the community equally. “When people started asking me how long it would take before this crop started to make fund and I replied -” 4-5 years “- they gave me back the plants.” Disappointed by this, he decided to reserve for him a piece of land starting the cultivation of coffee with government money independently, forcing him to resign from his job, since he could not find even people willing to cultivate. After his first harvest, the community, which first rejected the idea of coffee cultivation, returned to Tesfaye.
Suke Quto’s farm extends over the high lands and valleys of Odo Shakisso’s woreda, and thanks to the volcanic ground surrounding the farm, this is very fertile. Tesfaye maintains the land by organically recycling waste, coffee root residues and shade trees.
At the Suke Quto washing station, the washed coffees are stripped with an Agared machine, a pulper that does not remove the mucilage. Coffee beans are fermented for about 35-48 hours (depending on the current time) in fermentation tanks. Suke’s natural coffees are dried for 9-15 days.
Tesfaye has always focused on sustainable coffee and the economic growth of its community, also supporting it with some projects like renewing local schools.
Michele’suggestion: Suke Quto coffees are the flagship of the taste of Guji coffee, certified organic and Rainforest Alliance. Tesfaye Bekele, the founder of Suke Quto Farm, is one of the pioneers of Guji coffee. I met this coffee from my trader and friend Alberto Polojac, owner of Imperator srl, who sent me some samples to try it and I must say that as soon as I read his story I found myself. I loved his dedication to this job, supporting his community in all aspects. And like me he approached coffee casually.