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Anglo-Ethiopian SocietyThe Anglo-Ethiopian Society

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Today's offering is about Orit Mohammed, a Harar Coffee dealer.

Thirty year old Orit grew up in the highlands of Ethiopia, the cradle of coffee. Coffee is in her blood and she was driven to set up an import/export coffee business in the United Arab Emirates. She's one of the few women in the industry, and she wants to change things for other women through her work.

The film Ethiopia, Land of Coffee was made as part of Arte TV Lives from afar series. The film, directed by J. Michael Schumacher and produced in Germany, has a German speaking narrator, but most of the dialogue is in English and there are English subtitles throughout. The film is 48 minutes long and is available to watch until 7 July 2020.
“As an Ethiopian and the granddaughter of generations of coffee farmers in Harar – where coffee trading first began, coffee is in my DNA. In fact, the earliest family stories that I heard were all intertwined in some way around coffee.
Thanks to where I grew up, coffee has always occupied an important place in my daily life. My early childhood was filled with the delicious aroma of coffee roasting over charcoal on a pan. I knew then the rhythm of the day would start with the repetitive sound of the mortar hitting the barrel during the bean-grinding process. And I would bask in the sound of the laughter that would follow as my mother and her friends gathered to enjoy their coffee. During those gatherings, she would often talk about the farm where that day’s coffee had been grown, as she and her friends discuss or debate the daily news, daily issues, or the finer points of the coffee roasting.
I recognized even then just how personal the coffee experience was meant to be. My mother knew her guests’ preferences, and just how each liked her coffee served. She put meticulous effort into preparing each cup to ensure her friends’ satisfaction. My sisters and I took part as well, competing for the privilege of serving those guests so that we might collect blessings as they received their servings. My eyes were always drawn to my mother, watching as she waited for the smiles and nods that revealed her friends’ satisfaction after the first sip of coffee.
After eventually moving to Dubai, I gradually came to understand that I too needed to demonstrate coffee’s true magic. That single cup of coffee is not just a source of caffeine. Rather, it is a story of hard-working farmers, the person who roasts it, and all those who took part in its creation. Here at Boon Coffee, we have a story to tell as well – a story of passion, heritage, and tradition passed down from generation to generation.
Now, I watch as customers enjoy their coffee – much the same way that my mother watched her friends all those years ago. Like her, I can’t help but eagerly wait to see the nod and smile after the first sip of coffee."
Orit Mohammed
Founder of Boon Coffee
 
Harar is no longer the big producer of coffee that it used to be, sadly many of the old coffee farms now grow khat instead, and demand outstrips supply. It is difficult to find UK importers of Harar beans.

Here's another short video where Tadesse Meskela of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (OCFCU) discusses specialty coffee in the region of Harar.
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