Working with partners who truly have a heart for people and are committed to equity within the industry is a rarity. That being said, we’ve found just that in Catalyst Trade. Catalyst has been sourcing coffee from Ethiopia since 2014. Being majority Ethiopian owned, Catalyst practices what they preach by working diligently to ensure that those responsible for the coffee at the ground level are supported and dignified throughout the supply chain. In speaking with one of their founders, Emily McIntyre, we’ve come to see and admire their vision to have a positive effect on the way that coffee is traded, in Ethiopia and beyond. Companies that use their platform and influence for positive change in the world like Catalyst are one of the reasons why we love the coffee industry and the many incredible individuals that make it special.
Emily guided us to our Ethiopian coffee, which comes to us from Ayele Tulu's washing station in the Becha village of the Sidama region. Ayele and his family own a few washing stations in the Bona Zuria District, which permits them great influence over the success of this renowned coffee-growing region. While Ayele owns the processing sites, Catalyst shared with us that “perhaps the true engine of the family” is Ayele’s wife, Genet Haile Endeshow, who welcomes in friends and strangers alike with her warm hospitality.
Image from Catalyst Trade
Processing is often an overlooked portion of the coffee supply chain, which is truly a shame. Good processing can uphold or even elevate a coffee’s potential, while poor or inattentive processing can completely decimate any positive qualities a coffee once had. At its best, processing dignifies the work of the farmers and laborers, who worked tirelessly to produce wonderful coffees. We rest easy knowing Ayele and his family are processing their community’s coffees with excellence and with care for the people of Bona Zuria.
In our conversations with Emily, she shared, “Good coffee happens easily because Ethiopia grows wonderful coffees, but amazing, outstanding, consistent coffee is not a magic trick. It is a series of systems and a careful attention to detail [that make good Ethiopian coffees truly special]”. Catalyst leans on each other to ensure quality, but they rely heavily on Zelalem, their boots on the ground co-founder. Zelalem develops relationships within their partner communities and oversees every coffee that comes to Catalyst Trade.
Image from Catalyst Trade
The word "Legit" readily comes to my mind in describing their company. They practice what they preach, and, above all else, they aim to keep their promises. Catalyst is driven forward in a unified front by the hope of equality within the coffee supply chain. While equity within the supply chain is improving on a small scale, many lives are still negatively impacted and a great deal of labor is being exploited through the sale of coffee. With coffee being the 2nd most traded commodity in the world, those negative transactions certainly add up. Catalyst sees this and instead of being overcome by what seems to be an insurmountable goal, they’re taking steps everyday to improve the way business is being done in the industry and to ensure that people are truly seen and dignified throughout the supply chain. Their passion and determination to work with integrity toward a greater future gives us hope.
We support and are honored to showcase Catalyst Trade. Not only is their coffee incredible, but their team and their footprint in Ethiopia is truly special.