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As one of the more competitive coffee origins in the world, most purchasing in Ethiopia is done before the first cherries are picked. Buyers get in line come October, for first-ships in January. But, if you go to Ethiopia in May, it’s quite a different place. Coffee trees have already flowered, nodded, and have developed green beans. Washing stations are dormant. The dry mills are still humming, although maybe not at the pace they were in January….and surprisingly, there’s still coffee available. There’s a common misconception about purchasing coffee in Ethiopia that all coffee must come from the ECX. There’s a more complete picture to paint. Although still an oversimplification, coffees will either come from an Exporter that purchases from the ECX, the Coop Unions, or from a private landowner (usually a wealthy Ethiopian, who has a farm and washing station and has set up an out-growers scheme to purchase cherry from his surrounding smallholders).