Hirut Birhanu

Dumerso Washing Station, Dumerso, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia

Hirut (aka Beti) bought what had been a defunct washing station and warehouse building in 2010 in the small community of Dumerso, located in Ethiopia’s renowned Yirgacheffe region, known for its high quality coffee. About 700 small family farmers grow and harvest coffee cherries in this area. The washing station had been built in 1998 but never operated. Beti upgraded it and has been running it since 2013.
The coffees that have been grown for centuries in small plots in this region are world-famous, but drying and sorting the coffee requires more space and equipment than most people have available. Beti's efforts created a centralized space where coffee growers can wash, sort, and dry their coffees, using both the washed method and traditional in-the-fruit or "natural" method. The resulting coffees are everything you could wish for in a Yirgacheffe coffee - fruity, complex, but also crisp and without any taint or musty funk, thanks to scrupulous attention to detail in the sorting and drying processes.

During the harvest season, the Dumerso washing station now provides employment for nearly 400 people from the community. Beti worked hard to acquire a coffee export license, once Ethiopia started allowing direct export licenses in 2017. This allows Seattle Coffee Works to get fresh crop Ethiopian coffee to the US months ahead of other coffee importers and roasters.

It is exciting to see the success of Dumerso, and especially inspiring to see a woman spearheading this incredibly challenging effort. In an industry that has far too few women leaders, Beti is a real-life role model!

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