High-end Coffee Houses on the Rise

Coffee houses can be found on almost every corner in Addis Abeba, with more high-end coffee houses joining the growing market. They provide high-quality coffee and a unique atmosphere that CATERS FOR well-off individuals, reports TARIKU GASHU, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Small coffeehouses have become rife along the streets of Addis Abeba. With coffee ceremony a unique tradition in Ethiopia, people have come to enjoy the experience in their homes as well as in coffee shops. Usually, this would set a customer back five or six Birr for a cup of coffee.

Abel Gidey, originally from Eritrean who has made Ethiopia his home, is one of those people. But he has been looking for a coffeehouse where there are fewer crowds. His friends told him of Golden Coffee, along Rwanda Street in the Bole district, which he came to enjoy.

“I was searching for such a place where I can get fresh air, and there is not much commotion,” Abel told Fortune.

Golden Coffee, akin to Puccinos, Barista and Garden of Coffee, a recent addition to the capital’s food and beverage industry that caters to customers willing to spend between 25 Br for a small cup of coffee, called finjal.

“I come here to sip coffee two or three times a day. I prefer this place because the taste of the coffee is better than the others regardless of the 25 Br price,” an Indian logistics worker that has lived in Addis Abeba for over four months tells Fortune.

Golden, owned by Golden Coffee Roastery Plc, which works on coffee processing for on-demand use, opened its doors to customers in November of last year. The coffee shop also provides cafeteria services.

“We started this business with a capital of over 10 million Br, and we are working on our furnished building,” Samson Mesfin, manager of the coffee house, says.

Golden serves 250 to 300 people work days up to 400 people weekends, employs 35 to 40 employees, as claimed the by owners of the coffeehouse.

The formal cultivation and use of coffee begun in the ninth century, but prior to that coffee has grown in the highland forests of Ethiopia.

Another high-end coffee shop in the town is Garden of Coffee, which was founded by Betelhem Tilahun, an entrepreneur known for footwear, SoleRebels, manufactured from discarded tyres and other materials. The shop is located on Alexander Pushkin street.

“We present hand-roasted coffee beans based on the customers’ demand and charge them 35 Br for a finjal of coffee,” one of the supervisors of Garden of Coffee says.

The shop also provides customers with other hot drinks such as tea but focuses on the coffee with various roast levels and coffee types based on the origin of the coffee.

Garden of coffee employs 40 workers and serves 200 people a day in one shift, with variations on work and weekend days.

“Many people who need security, convenient environment, and quality service and product come here to sip a finjal of coffee and have a good time,” says Samson. “Our customer base includes high ranking government officials, non-nationals, and diplomats.”

The Supervisor of Garden of coffee echoes a similar sentiment.

“Our service is open to everyone from all walks of life, but most of our customers are indeed rather well-off,” she says.

The coffee shops also sell hand-roasted coffee to customers. The variety is not limited to the type of coffee; it also includes the level of roasting.

The annual coffee production of Ethiopia last fiscal year was 469,000tn, almost half of which was consumed domestically.

Garden of coffee supply fives kinds; Wollega Ultimate, Sidamo Legendary, Yirga Cheffe Magic, Harrar Regal and Jimma Coffee. The prices range from 550 Br to 800 Br a kilogram.

Roasting level, which is the level to which the green coffee beans are roasted before grinding, is also left to customers’ tastes. The roasting level could be medium, medium dark, dark, light and medium light at Garden of Coffee. while Golden Coffee has dark, medium and light.

“The trained and experienced workforce we hire, the value we add, the comfort and safety we provide, the cost we pay for materials and ingredients for our products is what makes our coffee expensive,” Samson says. “The training that is given to us on coffee production, processing, and packaging as well as hospitality training, which are offered to us by Tourism and Culture bureaus, have been very helpful.”

Tomoca, Abyssinia and Kaldis are the other coffee houses that also offer finjals of coffee for a price higher than the usual five and six Birr price. Their prices range between 15 to 16 Br a finjal.

The coffee shops buy the coffee beans from wholesalers and Ethiopian Commodity Exchanges (ECX), that was established in 2007 and started trading operations in 2008, facilitates the market process between sellers and buyers, that are retained for the local market. Months back the local coffee roasting companies had been challenged in getting quality coffee beans as it was reserved for export only.

However, since the amendment of the proclamation dubbed as Coffee Quality Control & Marketing late last fiscal year, the companies which process coffee, such as roast, grind and pack, were enabled to get standard export coffee.

Nestanet Tesfaye, corporate communications director at the ECX, confirms this.

“Even though we hyper-focus on export, local buyers can buy high-quality coffee from our warehouses,” said Nestanet.

Coffeehouses such as Garden of coffee also give short-term training on the traditional preparation of coffee, such as roasting coffee on a pan, mashing coffee and grinding using stones to non-nationals.

The formal cultivation and use of coffee begun in the ninth century, but prior to that coffee has grown in the highland forests of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is the largest coffee producer in sub-Saharan Africa. The nation also occupies fifth place on the world stage, behind Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, and Indonesia. Ethiopia is also the second largest coffee exporter in the continent next to Uganda.

Last fiscal year, Ethiopia earned more than 881 million dollars from 225,493tn of exported coffee. Ethiopian coffee export destinations have grown to 60 countries in which the top destinations such as Germany, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United States, Belgium, Sudan and South Korea take an 86pc share of the total. An indicator of the commodities importance for the nation, is that over 15 million people, rely upon coffee production.

The annual coffee production of Ethiopia last fiscal year was 469,000tn, almost half of which was consumed domestically.




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