November 2004, Gedeo region in Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia. Menno Simons – founder of Trabocca – is driving a Land Cruiser, sliding down treacherous slopes that form the threshold of the remote Misty Valley. ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ from Guns N’ Roses is the theme song that resonates through the vibrating cabin. The road to Adado co-operative marks the beginning of Trabocca.
“This is the Champagne-region of the coffee world”, Menno explains. “Perfect growing conditions: the right amount of rain and fertile ground, that absorbs all essential minerals. Locals rarely dare to use the main road, especially in the rain season, because you won’t be able to get out of the valley – due to muddy slopes. It is as if beauty and danger are inseparable.”
Menno continues, “There we met 150 Adado coop-members with broken down processing machines and numerous coffee plants from varieties: Dega, Wolisho and Kudhume. Small beans with a peculiar and recognizable shape. At the time they produced a half container of naturals, that didn’t cup amazing so to speak. There was a challenge. And we sensed that the coop members were open to collaborating.”
“Together with, partner and roaster, Allegro we pre-financed a Brazilian eco-pulper – which locals referred to as ‘the evil white-man-machine’ because it discarded green cherries –, a generator to fuel the pulper, drying beds and better roads – that made production more efficient. We produced 6 containers of washed Adado and saw the coop grow with 1500 members between 2005 and 2010. The Adado co-operative attained both Organic and Fair Trade certificates.”
“The Adado venture marks the beginning of Trabocca’s story. Through Adado co-operative we learned that persistent pursuit of innovations – through every level of the chain – can be tasted in the cup. Quality innovations and investments that improve production, community life and bring forth quality coffee. I think this hits the core of what we do.” – Menno Simons