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Current 2022/23 Harvest Reflections

As we all know, the harvest season went in full swing. Coffee has been picked, processed, and stored en masse and we are now better able to compare and contrast things to both pre-harvest predictions and previous seasons’ harvests.

It seems imperative to start things off by acknowledging the substantial decrease in quantity that was witnessed some 2 years back. This drop was caused by a decline in humidity and rainfall, a decline that persisted throughout the following years and affected the subsequent harvests. On site experts predicted that things would be looking up from the previous harvest but maintained that the numbers were unlikely to climb as high as they did pre-2020.

Besides rainfall however, another significant cause for shortages is the mounting price of coffee cherries. In mid-October, cherry prices were first expected to be set at 60 birr/kg but the price climbed to 73 birr soon after and the consensus at the time was that the numbers would simply keep increasing with an ending price of 81 birr/kg. Now that we’re in the finals of harvest, we can clearly see that the alarm was justified. As the Ethiopian birr continues to devalue, a lot of farmers are choosing to hold on to their cherries and dry the produce themselves. Seeing as farmers have recently been able to export their coffee directly, selling coffee cherries is becoming an unattractive option for many. This phenomenon has limited the market supply while the increase in exporters and middle men in the region has surged demand, resulting in the steep price hike of the cherries.

Nevertheless, an expected decrease in quantity is better than an unexpected increase in quantity because the former is easier to control. When the amount of coffee to be processed exceeds capacity, the cherries might not get enough drying time and the beans might not be stored as well as they should, hence resulting in an inferior product. Of course, as a company that prides itself on its specialty coffee, such an occurrence would be a major blunder so work has been consistently made to better both quantity and quality control. For instance, fermentation tanks have been added and the total now exceeds 2000 units. New warehouses have been built and a rigorous system connecting them all has been implemented. Micro lots have also expanded into Daye Bensa’s other farms, making the coming harvest seasons particularly exciting.

But this isn’t all; our expansion projects of our facilities went smoothly and we had set up additional 6 stations tailored to process and produce specialty coffee, making the number of our total processing stations exceed 70+ and also shifted much of our attention and efforts towards producing specialty coffee. An approximate 1.5 million tons of honey processed coffee has been processed and, the total coffee estimate is set at 60 million tons from all of our sites and it is looking like things might stay on track. As for staff, employees (particularly those in management) have undergone and will continue to undergo various training intended to ensure the maintenance and even elevation of the quality standards we hold so dear.

All in all, though this season’s harvest has its hiccups, we here at Daye Bensa are committed to making the best out of the hand that we are dealt. We have also made it a point to strive for betterment at every step of the way and we are sure our dedication will reflect in our coffee – just as it did in the years prior.

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