DUMERSO WASHING STATION RELATIONSHIP by Catalyst Trade
Led by the dynamic sister team of CEO Hirut Birhanu and Manager Mahder Birhanu, Dumerso is a family endeavor that is anchored in Yirgacheffe and extends its reach to several other areas of Ethiopia. The flagship washing station is Dumerso, acquired 12 years ago and named for the village where it is located in the Yirgacheffe district. The family has lovingly worked in coffee for more than 20 years, in the process undergoing quite a lot of upheaval and real challenges.
One of the most stunning challenges they faced was one we documented for the global coffee world before we met Hirut and Mahder. (You can read that article at Daily Coffee News: “A Year of Turbulence and New Hope in Ethiopia’s Critically Important Gedeo Zone”) Piggybacking on racial tensions, agitators incited the local people to destroy dozens of washing stations owned by Ethiopians of other tribal backgrounds than Gedeo. Dumerso’s site was looted and destroyed. The family lost a lot of money in the process but remained hopeful that they could do good for the area and rebuild. In the same season, nightly low temperatures that hadn’t been seen in more than fifty years cause frost to strike the area and decimated the harvest. In spite of these challenges, with great fortitude, the family has continued to forge ahead. Ever since they have been rebuilding and in so doing have begun to focus on dialing in excellence in-process controls.
We began working with them in 2020, during an epic year of change and challenges. The coffee came in late in the season and wowed us every time on the cupping table with incredibly complex fruits like mandarin, earl grey, lemon sugar, and champagne grapes. This, combined with distinct floral and herbal notes such as white rose, bergamot, and eucalyptus, excited us and promised that we’d found the classic Yirgacheffe profile for the first time in a few years of searching for it. We immediately began to plan for the 2021 season, and our team has spent a lot of time on the ground with their team. Catalyst Trade Founder and Relationships & Processing Director Zelalem Girma Bayou says that he wishes more people were as careful and open to collaboration as the Industrial Manager at the Dumerso site.