Roasters, importers find it hard to get Ethiopian coffee they want
U.S. coffee importers and roasters are worried that a new auction system in Ethiopia makes it almost impossible for them to buy coffee from the particular farmers whose beans they want.
The system, overseen by the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, mixes coffee beans from different growers before selling them for export.
That’s a big deal to specialty roasters who prefer beans from certain growers and processors, and sometimes have worked with them to improve quality.
During a visit to the Ethiopian exchange in February, one Seattle coffee importer became concerned about how the new system would work.
“We spent a whole day going through the phases of grief — anger, denial and acceptance — just trying to get our arms around what’s going on,” said Craig Holt, owner of Atlas Coffee Importers.