In the picturesque Chelchele Kebele of Ethiopia’s Yirgacheffe region, a charismatic coffee farmer named Tibebu Roba is an inspiration for smallholders and a testament to the power of dedication and persistence. With his coffee farm established in 1982, Tibebu’s commitment to quality has earned an admiration within the coffee community.
Tibebu’s love for coffee cultivation runs deep, ingrained in his childhood experiences assisting his father near a farm in Dilla town. After pursuing a career as an Evangelical preacher, he rediscovered his passion for coffee farming and was captivated by the beauty and fertility of Chelchele. In 1982, the Roba family acquired 8.298 hectares of land, embarking on a journey that would impact both their lives and the local community.
Beyond his role as a coffee farmer, Tibebu remains an active Evangelical preacher and a pillar of support for the local community. His wife, whom he describes as the backbone of the farm, contributes to their success by managing a small fashion shop that supports their endeavors.
Tibebu’s commitment to excellence is evident in the exceptional natural Yirgacheffe coffees. His remarkable achievement of submitting a 91-scoring coffee in the 2019 Ethiopian Cup competition organized by Trabocca, has earned him USD 33.500 worth of premiums. Moreover, his influence extends beyond his own farm as he encourages other smallholders to promote excellence and innovation throughout the region.
One notable aspect of Tibebu Roba’s coffee production is the altitude of its coffee catchment area, ranging from 1985 to 2000 meters. This optimal elevation contributes to the unique flavors and quality of the coffee produced. The rich red loam soil that imparts unique flavors to his coffee beans and his dedication to farming practices is what sets Tibebu apart. Nourishing the coffee plants with self-made compost and embracing sustainable farming methods, Tibebu takes pride in the harmonious relationship between his farm and nature.
The coffee harvest at Tibebu Roba takes place from November to mid-January, with the export period typically occurring in March. Notably, the coffee cherries are carefully dried using the raised bed method, ensuring the preservation of their distinct characteristics and flavors. The carefully selected local coffee varietals, including Kurume and Wolisho, contribute to the distinctive character and flavors of his coffees.
Tibebu Roba’s approach to coffee production reflects his commitment on cultivating coffee that is free from the use of synthetic chemicals. Although he is no longer certified as organic, his commitment to responsible farming practices remains unwavering.
In a world where exceptional coffee is sought after, Tibebu Roba and his farm stand as shining examples of what can be achieved through passion, dedication, and a deep connection to the land.