Never in her wildest dreams did Dehab Bitewlign ever think she would be interested in coffee, let alone owning and running her own coffee farm.
Getting Grounded in the Coffee Business
Coffee is a vital part of Ethiopian culture and traditions. The Kaffa region, in particular, has been known for its fertile soil, which makes it perfect for the coffee business. When Dehab's husband heard about an opportunity to invest in a coffee plantation, he thought it would be a good fit for his family and became a partial owner of a coffee farm with a family friend. In 1999, the two friends became official coffee farmers.
Dehab’s husband was still working in his construction business and was able to commit to investing 27% of his time toward the coffee plantation. A close family friend invested the rest and committed to the daily operations and managing the farm. At this point, Dehab had a lot going on with raising her family and was not needed to help out on the farm, but was very supportive of her husband's work but was happy to watch the farming from a distance.
Unfortunate Circumstance Hits the Coffee Plantation
The first few years owning the farm were the most challenging, but in 2009, the farm finally started to turn around. Focusing on raising her three young children, Dehab never gave much attention to the coffee farm. She was happy to leave all those details to her husband and was even pondering going back to school herself to pursue an education in accounting.
Then unexpected happened in 2012. The family friend and majority owner of the coffee farm became extremely ill and unable to manage the day-to-day operations of their Kaffa coffee plantation. Dehab’s husband worked the farm as much as possible to keep it running, but as the illness of the friend progressed, he, unfortunately, died seven months after slipping into a coma.
From Accounting to Coffee And No Looking Back
With her husband working diligently in his construction business and still working the coffee farm, they knew they needed to do something since the farms' majority owner had just passed away. Although Dehab had maintained a distance from the operations of the farm, she was no stranger to what was going on and had a great business mind. With careful consideration, Dehab decided she would invest in the coffee farm herself and purchased the shares left by their family friend.
Dehab Joins The Motherland of Coffee Community
Dehab considered herself fortunate to be in the homeplace of the world’s oldest coffee-drinking culture. It’s a big part of the identity of the people in Kaffa, and Dehab was determined to learn all she could to make this coffee farm a success. After all, her experience was limited to helping her mother boil coffee in the mornings when she was a little girl in Ethiopia.
Growing the Coffee Business
Partnering with her husband, she soon fell in love with the farm, farming, and the coffee, too! And it didn’t take long for Dehab to get deeply involved. She set out to learn everything she could about the coffee industry. For nearly two years, she went to exhibitions to study and research how to be a successful coffee farmer. She employed a business consultant and hired an agronomist to evaluate their land to develop better methods for increasing the quality and production of their coffee plantation.
In 2014 Dehab started managing the company full-time, and soon after that, in 2015, she began exporting their coffee to Germany and Denmark and then to the USA.
An Expression of Love For Coffee and Humanity
Being a woman of faith and deeply connected to her family, Dehab knew that she had been given an opportunity to help others, especially women. Committed to her workers and those in her community, Dehab encourages others to make great impacts and positive change within their own communities. As far as Dehab's coffee, she is committed to crafting coffee and coffee products that are an expression of love for all humanity.
Great Coffee, Greater Impact
Dehab's coffee farm not only supplies the coffee beans but also prepares roasted coffees and specialty blends upon request. The coffees from Dehab and her husband's coffee farm is 100% free of any chemical or fertilizer and have traceability factors that reflect the characteristic of special soil identifiers. Their micro-lot coffee farm offers ecological and environmental protection and is committed to their customers and independent coffee workers.
At Larry’s Coffee, you will find passion, compassion, and a strong desire to do good for others. Hoping to inspire others, employees and customers, to be a greater force for good in their own communities, Larry hopes those that cross paths with Larry’s Coffee will find the willingness and ability to think and explore whatever path suits you at this moment and today. Larry’s Coffee is on a mission to sell and serve only the best coffee from farmers just like Dehab Bitewlign and her family.
For the freshest brew and organically-sourced coffee from small family farmers, Larry’s Coffee can be found in their storefront at 1507 Gavin Street in Raleigh, or at these fine coffee retailers throughout the southeast.