The Yayu Coffee Forest Biosphere in Ethiopia is one of the last mountain forest fragments of Arabica Coffee in the world. To preserve and maintain its primary and secondary wild forest, and prevent further damage to the forest or loss of coffee species, it is vital that local communities have other livelihood options as well as seeing a viable future for themselves in producing specialty coffee.


Produced in collaboration with Union Coffee, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and The Darwin Trust in December 2016.

rift valley aerial ethiopia
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The Rift Valley in Ethiopia

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The Rift Valley in Ethiopia

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union coffee bag packaging beans
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Union Coffee's Yayu Wild Forest Coffee.

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Union Coffee's Yayu Wild Forest Coffee.

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A coffee worker at a coffee bean drying station.

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A coffee worker at a coffee bean drying station.

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A coffee cooperative member in Yayu

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A coffee cooperative member in Yayu

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coffee forest yayu ethiopia red cherry
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Yayu's wildforest coffee

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Yayu's wildforest coffee

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A coffee worker lies on a bed of coffee cherries in Yayu.

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A coffee worker lies on a bed of coffee cherries in Yayu.

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union coffee coffee process
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Coffee workers are responsible for removing the coffee cherry pulp (pictured right) and cleaning the coffee beans (left) so that they can be moved onto drying beds.

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Coffee workers are responsible for removing the coffee cherry pulp (pictured right) and cleaning the coffee beans (left) so that they can be moved onto drying beds.

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A coffee picker working on one of Yayu's farms

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A coffee picker working on one of Yayu's farms

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union coffee bean sorting process
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Coffee Workers wash pulp residue off coffee beans and remove the unusable beans.

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Coffee Workers wash pulp residue off coffee beans and remove the unusable beans.

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A moment of calm after a traditional coffee ceremony at a farm in Yayu forest, Ethiopia. We drank their hand roasted coffee with the option of adding either sugar or salt (to soften the bitterness and acidity of the coffee) and burned frankincense powder that filled the air with plumes of fragrant smoke. 

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A moment of calm after a traditional coffee ceremony at a farm in Yayu forest, Ethiopia. We drank their hand roasted coffee with the option of adding either sugar or salt (to soften the bitterness and acidity of the coffee) and burned frankincense powder that filled the air with plumes of fragrant smoke. 

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Members of a coffee farm in Yayu review the quality of their coffee harvest.

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Members of a coffee farm in Yayu review the quality of their coffee harvest.

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union coffee men teaching school
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Members of a coffee cooperative in Yayu talking business with Graciano Cruz, an industry expert and coffee farmer himself, who along with Union is helping development in the region.

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Members of a coffee cooperative in Yayu talking business with Graciano Cruz, an industry expert and coffee farmer himself, who along with Union is helping development in the region.

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A coffee farm owner sits outside her home in Yayu, Ethiopia.

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A coffee farm owner sits outside her home in Yayu, Ethiopia.

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Local plantlife in Yayu, Ethiopia.

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Local plantlife in Yayu, Ethiopia.

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A schoolboy in Yayu, Ethiopia. Part of the development program is teaching the coffee growing process to children at school. Many of these children will grow up to work with coffee, so having an understanding from a young age is a big advantage for them

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A schoolboy in Yayu, Ethiopia. Part of the development program is teaching the coffee growing process to children at school. Many of these children will grow up to work with coffee, so having an understanding from a young age is a big advantage for them

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Members of a coffee cooperative in Yayu talking business with Graciano Cruz, an industry expert and coffee farmer himself, who along with Union is helping development in the region

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Members of a coffee cooperative in Yayu talking business with Graciano Cruz, an industry expert and coffee farmer himself, who along with Union is helping development in the region

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Coffee pickers remove unripe green coffee cherries.

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Coffee pickers remove unripe green coffee cherries.

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A young coffee picker in Yayu, Ethiopia. 

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A young coffee picker in Yayu, Ethiopia. 

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coffee worker baby yayu wildforest picker
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A coffee worker and her child at a coffee farm in Yayu, Ethiopia.

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A coffee worker and her child at a coffee farm in Yayu, Ethiopia.

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Local coffee in Yayu.

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Local coffee in Yayu.

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A schoolboy in Yayu. Part of the development program is teaching the coffee growing process to children at school. Many of these children will grow up to work with coffee, so having an understanding from a young age is a big advantage for them

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A schoolboy in Yayu. Part of the development program is teaching the coffee growing process to children at school. Many of these children will grow up to work with coffee, so having an understanding from a young age is a big advantage for them

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Coffee workers stand by a coffee drying bed in Yayu, Ethiopia.

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Coffee workers stand by a coffee drying bed in Yayu, Ethiopia.

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A cooperative meeting with Union coffee in Yayu, Ethiopia.

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A cooperative meeting with Union coffee in Yayu, Ethiopia.

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school girl union coffee yayu ethiopia
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Part of the development program is teaching the coffee growing process to children at school. Many of these children will grow up to work with coffee, so having an understanding from a young age is a big advantage for them

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Part of the development program is teaching the coffee growing process to children at school. Many of these children will grow up to work with coffee, so having an understanding from a young age is a big advantage for them

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union coffee school children ethiopia yayu
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Schoolchildren in Yayu.

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Schoolchildren in Yayu.

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A coffee worker in Yayu, Ethiopia.

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A coffee worker in Yayu, Ethiopia.

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Coffee workers on a top quality producing farm in Ethiopia.

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Coffee workers on a top quality producing farm in Ethiopia.

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