Producer Spotlight: Kata Muduga Union/Kokolla Cooperative

By Kyle Sollenberger

A beautiful Kata Muduga Union billboard

From day one, Necessary has existed to connect as many coffee lovers as possible with beautiful, easy-drinking coffees that have been purchased fairly and sustainably. 

The town of Agaro is located in western Ethiopia’s Jimma Zone, not far from the forests that are thought to be the original birthplace of coffee. Headquartered in Agaro is the Kata Muduga Union, an umbrella organization that serves as an administrative and marketing liaison between  member cooperatives (groups of coffee farmers who process and sell their coffee together) and specialty coffee buyers. The Union’s stated mission is improve the life standard of member farmers by enhancing household income levels. Since its founding in 2016, Kata Muduga has become one of the most renowned cooperative unions in Ethiopia, thanks in part to the fame of some of its better known coops (Nano Challa, Duromina, Yukro, Hunda Oli) whose top scoring coffees are highly sought by importers and roasters year after year. 

One of the lesser known farmer cooperatives within the Kata Muduga union is called Kokolla. This group of farmers had been on our radar for some time as our sister company Passenger Coffee has been buying coffees from Kata Muduga coops long before Necessary existed as a roasting company. While the Kokolla lots that we have tasted over the years have rarely been ‘flashy’ on the cupping table, they have always been notable for their deep sweetness and impressive quality consistency. With the founding of Necessary, we knew we wanted to buy from this group of farmers. Over the past two years we have purchased all the coffee that is presented as Necessary Ethiopia, as well as 50% of the Necessary Blend, from the Kata Muduga Union - and the majority of this coffee has been sourced from the Kokolla Farmers Cooperative. 

Asnake Nigat (left) General Manager of the Kata Muduga Union, pictured with Fikru Ashenafi of Addis Exporter
Asnake Nigat (left) General Manager of the Kata Muduga Union, pictured with Fikru Ashenafi of Addis Exporter

Necessary’s approach to sourcing in Ethiopia is necessarily quite different when compared to, say, the continuation of our partnership with farmer members of the Divino Niño producer group in Huila, Colombia. But while the specifics vary, the central goal is absolutely the same: to offer stable, ongoing, and fair prices for as broad spectrum of these farmers’ total harvest as we can. While Necessary’s partnership with these communities is admittedly still at an early stage, we see nothing but potential on the horizon, and feel incredibly grateful to our friends at the Kata Muduga Union for their continued support. Thanks to the recent arrival of our latest container from the 2020/2021 harvest, delightful coffees from the Kokolla cooperative will grace the Necessary menu for many months to come!