Disco Marmalade - Hambela, Guji, Ethiopia

What does Africa's first female pilot have to do with one of the most stunning coffees to come out of Guji? Well, everything, actually.

In 1934 Ethiopia, a young woman named Muluemebet, with equal parts fierceness and confidence overcame the odds and became Africa’s first female pilot. She flew an aircraft called the Tiger Moth a number of times a week over Addis Ababa and was determined to complete her pilot training and start a career.

 

Her efforts were almost unbelievable at a time when it was nearly impossible as a woman to get your drivers license. In a twist of fate, Italian troops invaded Ethiopia in 1936, forcing Muluemebet into hiding (she was on their hit list).

Trading in your dream for the domestic life seems a bit anti-climactic, but what happens next involves moving forward to today, this coffee and a continued legacy.

Ethiopian government awarded Muluemebet land as recognition for her efforts during the war and decades later Aman Adinew, her grandson, is entrusted with this same land - Hambela Estate.

The Adinew family manages Hambela Estate with the same drive that Muluemebet showed as she learned to fly all those years ago. They not only employ the local community complete with healthcare, but also provide agronomy assistance for smallholders. The quality of the lots produced under the guidance of Aman and his team are consistently gorgeous and vibrant.

 

This coffee from the Bishan Fugu community, assisted by Hambela Estate, has flavours of bright bergamot and is intensely sweet (think white grapes). These heirloom varieties are a stellar example of the Guji region and is shared here as Disco Marmalade.