The first person in the Yonis family to get seriously involved with coffee was Faysel A. Yonis. Faysel began working with coffee in the late 1990s, but at the time he was purely involved in supplying the local market. As the potential for specialty coffee in the country increased, Faysel saw opportunity. Even though he was still constrained by the ECX, he had a feeling that things would change. Faysel established Testi Coffee in 2009 as a coffee exporting company, set about surrounding himself with exceptional coffee professionals, and hired his nephew, Adham, raised and educated in the USA, to help with outreach and marketing. Today, Testi owns and/or operates four washing stations in Guji, Yirgacheffe, Sidamo and in Limu–all premier coffee producing regions. This lot was processed using the Natural method at their Debo washing station in Yirgacheffe, where it is dried slowly between 15 and 18 days and is regularly raked and sorted to preserve the high natural quality of the coffee.
They work with small holder farmers, with the aim of securing the very best prices for their coffee so that they can pay fair prices for the cherry delivered. They have also recently established a 250 hectare farm in the Bench Maji Zone, where they plan to experiment with organic practices.They are currently also building a warehouse in Shakiso where they can process natural coffees locally, in the region where the coffee is grown. This keeps more revenue in the communities where the coffees are produced.
Testi’s objective is quality and building long term business relationships. Their washing stations are very well run and they do diligent work through sorting and screening to get clean and quality beans for export. Testi always adheres to the very highest quality standards to prepare and deliver nothing but high quality beans.
You may not recognize the name ‘Debo’ but this washing station is the home of our Kochere Yirgacheffe coffees. Debo Washing Station was established in 2000 and is run in collaboration with Masreshu Sima.Testi oversees all quality protocols, manages the stations during on & off season, and mills and exports the products. Between 750 and 800 smallholder farmers deliver cherry to Debo Washing station, and the washing station exports up to 5 containers annually. The washing station is located in Gedeo Zone (Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region). This is the homeland of the Gedeo people and it extends south along the eastern escarpment of the Ethiopian Highlands and has borders with the zones of Guji to the east, Borena to the south and west and Sidama to the north. The administrative capital is Dila. The town of Yirgacheffe is also in Gedeo.
About the Yirgacheffe region :
Yirgacheffe is actually part of the Sidamo region in southern Ethiopia, but its exquisite washed coffees are so well known that is has been sub - divided into its own micro-region. This steep, green area is both fertile and high – much of the coffee grows at 2,000m and above. At first glance Yirgacheffe’s hills look thickly forested - but in fact it is a heavily populated region and the hills are dotted with many dwellings and villages’ growing what is known as ‘garden coffee’. There are approximately 26 cooperatives in the region, representing some 43,794 farmers and around 62,004 hectares of garden coffee. The production is predominantly washed, although a smaller amount of sundried coffees also come out of Yirgacheffe.
Around 85 percent of Ethiopians still live rurally and make a living from agriculture; each family usually lives in a modest home (often a single round mud hut) and farms their own plot of land, where they grow both cash crops and food for their own consumption. In Yirgacheffe, coffee is one of the main cash crops – covering from half a hectare to 1.5 hectares (the latter is considered big). This is usually planted alongside a second cash crop – often a large-leafed tree used in making roofs for (and also shade provider for the coffee) known as 'false banana'. This looks like a banana tree but isn't-instead its thick stem is used to produce both a nutritious flour and a fermented paste that are staple ingredients (particularly across southern Ethiopia). There is only one main harvest a year in Ethiopia-this usually takes place in November and December across all of the country's growing regions