What is NOLE coffee? NOLE coffee refers to coffee that has been grown in the NOLE region of the southwestern Oromia, Ethiopia. With a rich soil, abundant sunshine and rain and terrain, NOLE is one of the most unique varieties of coffee grown in Ethiopia.

How is coffee grown in this region, and what makes it so special?

Coffee in NOLE

Nole region is located in the original home of coffee. The natives classify the coffee as: wild, mountain shade and garden. There are many coffee ceremonies such as Buna Qallu. The roasted coffee is eaten once it rinsed with boiled milk. The sages of region uses the coffee bean for toothache. The coffee production creates a complicated supply chain among different ethnic groups. During harvest season, seasonal workers from different part of the country join the local labor force. Most of the coffee farmers produces other types of agricultural products which makes coffee as cash crop.

These farmers and their families inherit many centuries old knowledge that keep the environment from major degradation. The coffee trees are planted in the forest or under large native trees. Such practice protects desertification and soil erosions. When it comes to fertilizers they use natural.

What makes the NOLE region unique

Not all coffee from ETHIOPIA is the same… while there are farms producing other varieties of high-quality coffee all over ETHIOPIA, the NOLE coffee belt is unique. The presence of Bube forest , number of rivers and diversified nutrients of the soil give the best conditions. The elevation, about 6000ft above sea level, has ideal coffee growing location.

The early years of a coffee tree

The coffee plants are purchased as seedlings to ensure only the healthiest, most suitable plants are used. Great care is given to selecting varieties that are appropriate for the soil and terrain in the region.  If they start life as healthy, well grown and cared for seedlings, a coffee tree can stay productive for 60 years, but the first five years of life for a coffee plant are crucial – they must be fertilized, pruned and protected from pests and weeds. At around 5 years old they should reach four to six feet tall.

Care and pruning

Rows of pruned coffee trees

Ready for harvest

In five to six years, the coffee tree should be producing enough cherry to be harvested for commercial production. Ethiopian coffee, especially coffee grown in the Nole region, is harvested by hand. the Nole region provides its own set of challenges when harvest time approaches. There is a major labor shortage during harvest. Most of the farmers do not have high quality storage for the cherry. The absence of investment in infra structure and introduction of agricultural technology result in low yield.

NOLE coffee today

With more than 2500 coffee farms clustered around the NOLE region and the coffee industry does not recognize its unique flavor yet. Nole region can be tourist attraction for coffee enthusiasts from around the world. There are reserved forest in the region which are habitat of the endangered black lion. We are planning to start Coffee tourism.

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