The Addis Ababa-based METAD/Kabu Coffee Quality Control Laboratory has become the first privately-owned African laboratory to be certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), the world’s largest coffee trade association, the Ethiopian company announced Monday.
According to the company’s press statement, sent to PANA here, the Laboratory, equipped with the state-of-the-art coffee tasting technology, was certified 17 May, 2013, after a team of SCAA experts, including Mr. Skip Finley, a Director on the SCAA Board, and Mr. Marty Curtis, a Coffee Quality Institute Instructor, inspected the laboratory same day.
“When you walk into METAD’s lab you feel like you are in the known coffee quality laboratories in the US or Korea,” Finley said in his description of Africa’s first private laboratory to get the prestigious international certification.
The laboratory was established in the Gerji area of Addis Ababa with a mission to help improve Ethiopia’s coffee industry. It is owned by its sister companies, METAD Agricultural Development Plc and Kabu Coffee Plc (The latter is owned by the legendary performer Aster Aweke).
This laboratory was envisaged to significantly improve the quality of Ethiopian coffee and thereby increase the value of Ethiopian coffee in the global market. Certified quality coffee leads to coffee farmers earning higher prices for their beans, and fetching higher foreign currency for the country. It also increases the number of coffee quality professionals in Ethiopia.
“By having its laboratory certified, METAD is at the start of a huge project,” Curtis said, adding that the certified laboratory will hugely contribute to the development of Ethiopia’s coffee industry by building buyers’ trust on the quality of Ethiopian coffee.
“As the birthplace of coffee, you guys (Ethiopia) should have been the first to be certified. But now you are jumping into that position,” he added.
Accordingly, the proprietors of METAD/Kabu Coffee Quality Laboratory say this is part of their efforts to position Ethiopia into its rightful place in the global coffee market.
“The laboratory will be used to train farmers from around the country to improve the quality of the coffees they produce; and it will assist international buyers, roasters and importers with gaining access to consistent quality coffees. In addition, these international buyers have a place to taste the coffees they intend to buy,” said Aman Adinew, Chief Executive Officer of METAD Agricultural Development Plc.
METAD Plc was established in 2010 to participate in the coffee value chain, specifically farming, processing and exporting specialty coffee to the world.
Kabu Coffee was established a year ahead of METAD to retail high quality roasted coffee for both local and export markets. It is currently expanding the retail/cafe business within Addis Ababa, North America and the Russian Federation markets.
According to Aman. Kabu, it is one of a handful of establishments in Ethiopia that buys green coffee, processes and roasts it in-house. The two companies later merged and the certification of their laboratory completes their participation in the entire coffee value chain.
“This lab is part of the coffee value-chain puzzle – from crop to cup – and will enable both companies to consistently deliver high-quality coffee to our customers,” said Aman, who was also the Chief Business Operations Officer of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) during its founding and stabilizing years.
He said, “I am very proud that the two laboratories (METAD/Kabu and ECX) that I helped to set up became the first two labs to be certified by the SCAA in Africa, and that they are both located in the birthplace of Arabica coffee – Ethiopia.”
Under Aman’s leadership, ECX’s operations grew dramatically in less than two years as he strategized and implemented the expansion of its operation sites from one to 16; grew its warehouses from two to over 50; its coffee laboratories from one to 10 throughout Ethiopia; and its Q-certified Coffee Quality Cuppers from zero to 42.
The ECX laboratory in Addis Ababa has also become the first public institution in Africa to have its Coffee Quality Control Laboratory certified by SCAA, after its facility was inspected by the same team during the same week.