Union is partnered with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, to conserve the Yayu Coffee Forest in Ethiopia, and invest in the region’s coffee cooperatives. Our Union Direct Trade initiative is enhancing smallholder livelihoods, preserving a unique wild coffee biosphere, and improving the farms’ coffee quality. We’re excited to build sustainable relationships which motivate farmers to grow excellent coffee, and you get to enjoy a delicious, responsibly sourced cup full of exotic coffee flavours.

In pursuit of the freshest cup

Last year Steven and I made a trip to a new coffee shop, nothing out of the ordinary there. Except when I tell you we had to travel nearly 5,500 miles to get there. Not only was it a long trip but this isn’t even a coffee shop we supply coffee to… Instead we buy coffee from them every year and have done since 2003.

Ethiopian Coffee Culture
Did you know that as well as exporting coffee, Ethiopia has a strong, domestic coffee culture too? It’s estimated that Ethiopians consume around 3.7 million 60kg bags of coffee a year (The country has more than 90 million inhabitants). That’s about half of their total annual production.


Over the past year, since joining Union, I’ve spent a lot of time with Steven and Jeremy (our founders) talking about the way we source and how we work in partnership with farmers. I’ve also found insights from Pascale (our sustainable sourcing champion who is based in Panama and travels to meet our producer partners on a constant basis, monitoring and helping to increase quality of life and quality of coffee production) invaluable. However nothing really prepared me for the experience of meeting the producers and farmers in their own homes.

Rwanda is a small country at the heart of Africa, with a population of 11 million people. Sitting directly on the equator, the whole country is beautiful; lush, green forests and lakes – the most beautiful country I have been to! It’s known as ‘the country of a thousand hills’, which seemed to be true, but even more so I was struck by the warm welcome and smiles we received.

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