The story of the Yonis family starts in the warm and dry climate of Harrar. Harrar is the easternmost coffee growing region of Ethiopia and is known for its abundance of natural processed coffees – due to lack of water in the region. The Harari people are proud of their ‘amber bean’, a reference to their yellow and gold colored natural processed beans: the Harari trademark.
Faysel A. Yonis was born into a coffee producing family and enjoyed the rich traditions of Ethiopian coffee culture at a young age. He fervently recalls the coffee tree looming over their front yard and the daily coffee ceremonies performed by his mother. His father, Abdosh Yonis, owned two farms near the Chelenko village. But, unfortunately, Abdosh lost his farms during the infamous Derg regime (74’ – 87’).
Faysel started to harbor an interest in the coffee market in the late 90ties. He became a representative of coffee farmers by introducing and channeling their coffee to the local market. A decade of experience gave Faysel enough confidence to start his own company: Testi Trading PLC. A company dedicated to sourcing specialty coffee within Ethiopia.
Testi grew over the years; in quality, volume, people, and experience. Testi is recognized as one of the leading exporters within the Ethiopian coffee market. In 2013, Mr. Abraham Seyoum, Testi’s Marketing Manager, met Wim van Kooten (Trabocca’s senior trader). Samples were sent and contracts soon followed. Today, Testi and Trabocca operate several proven supply chains that deliver unique specialty coffees.
The Bishan Dimo washing station is found in the Denbi Uddo kebele – which is part of the Shakiso woreda (Guji). The area of Shakiso is a combination of outstretched hills and mountains that give you the impression that the area is flat. But in fact, the area reaches heights up to 2000 m.a.s.l.
The Guji people are experienced cattle farmers. Amidst the forests, where coffee often grows, large patches of land give cattle enough space to roam. Although Guji is known for its cattle, it has developed itself into a coffee growing region. Entrepreneurs like Faysel are the instigators of this transformation.
The Bishan Dimo site is surrounded by 800+ smallholder families (with an average of five kids). The small plots, typically 1.5 hectares, are located at 1850 to 2050 m.a.s.l. Their coffee trees are shaded by false banana plants and the semi-forests that engulf their farms.
Bishan Dimo washing station opened its gates in 2017. Although it is a new site, it already produced several stunning washed and natural lots. Faysel’s brother, Hakime Yonis, is the manager of the station and responsible for daily operations.
Washed coffees are fermented for 24/48 hours within clean cement tanks. The parchment is then dried for 10 to 12 days. Naturals are dried for 15 to 18 days, depending on the weather. If rains cross over, the workers are forced to cover the cherries, and drying is delayed.
Faysel and Hakime have plans to purchase the lands of neighbors so that they can install more drying beds. More drying beds ensure that parchment and cherries can be more spread and evenly dried.