Daniel Tadesse is one of the pioneering coffee smallholders that upholds the reputation of Guji (Ethiopia). He was born within a traditional Guji coffee family with deep roots in Dari Kidame; a Kebele found within the Hamballa Waamana woreda. Now he lives in Odo Shakiso. This is the home to producers like Tesfaye Bekele (Suke Quto Farm) and Haile Gebre (Shakisso Farm).
The aromas of roasted coffee with butter rekindle memories from Daniel’s childhood. The Tadesse family organized weekend gatherings to connect with each other. Coffee is also used during Guji mediations – when groups seek peace with each other, or other special ceremonies, like weddings. But it was not until the early 2000s that Guji developed into a cash crop area for coffee. Soon, small and large producers, including Daniel’s father, started to cultivate coffee more serious.
“Together with my siblings, I grew up helping my father on his plot.” Daniel explains, “He showed us how to farm coffee, an invaluable experience. During my elementary school years, I continued to help him after school days. When completing grade 10, I joined Alage Agriculture College where I learned a lot about coffee farming and cultivation.”
After Daniel graduated, he became an independent Development Agent and worked alongside smallholders. “I gained a tremendous amount of experience while assisting farmers in their daily work.” Daniel continuous, “I applied what I learned at school and also put the teachings of my father to use.”
“My knowledge about coffee grew and I started to understand coffee more extensively; from proper cultivation to best practice processing. A few years ago, I inherited 2-hectares of land, and this gave me the opportunity to put these valuable insights into practice. Through the years I’ve expanded the farm by buying neighboring lands. Today, I’m proud to have 15 hectares of land to cultivate my coffee.”
Daniel claims that the usage of natural fertilizers – in fact, cow manure from his neighbors – enables him to produce high-quality Guji’s. Together with his wife, Zeritu Godana, he wants to continue this pursuit of quality coffee. Competing in The Ethiopian Cup came as a natural step for him. His lot, unfortunately, did not make the auction but became a national winner instead. Daniel and Zeritu have three sons: Fedhasa Daniel, Naol Daniel, and Yeron Daniel. Although verily young, their sons are likely to carry the torch of their parents.