Success Story: Ethiopia Coffee Exchange

The ECX coffee laboratory became the first in Africa to be certified that it has met the rigorous quality standards of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). This internationally sought-after recognition will further enhance Ethiopia’s standing in the international coffee market and increase the value of coffees sold.
The SCAA Lab Inspection & Certification Program exists to promote SCAA’s mission to recognize, promote, and develop specialty coffee. Certified Labs provide an opportunity for consistency in cupping and testing of Q- graders, and objective evaluation of coffee throughout the world. Calibrated Lab Inspectors ensure global compliance and are an integral part of assuring consistency in grading and evaluation of specialty coffee. “With the inception of the Q program in Ethiopia over the past 8 years, and now with the addition of the SCAA certified labs it is giving the Ethiopian coffee community the tools and the ability to showcase its coffee quality, and enhance the credibility of its supply to the specialty coffee world," commented Skip Finley, former SCAA board member and lab inspector. The USAID AGP AMDe coffee team worked with the ECX to prepare for the rigorous inspection, which took place last week.  Preparation included a preliminary visit to the lab to take an inventory of materials and assess the physical environment, then to support the acquisition of the necessary materials and required environmental adjustments. Follow-up visits assured that the requirements were fulfilled in time for the official inspection.

The ECX certified lab generates additional credibility for Ethiopian coffee among international buyers, who seek assurance about the quality and consistency of the product they buy.  The lab increases trust of local exporters who will be able to solicit services from the lab to verify the quality of coffees that they’ve contracted. In addition, the lab will now be able to reliably execute Q trainings for Ethiopian Q graders, and for candidates from other countries in the region.

The ECX’s effort to certify their main lab, underscores Ethiopia’s commitment to becoming a truly competitive coffee origin for quality, consistency and reliability of supply – a welcome advance in the eyes of discerning buyers.   The next step will be to support certification of the ECX regional labs, the CLU lab in Addis and select private exporters.  AGP coffee team will work with local partners to assure the readiness of these.

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