METAD Plc: From Flying to Coffee Farming
May 21 - 2021
Coffee Geography Magazine
Large coffee Roasters in the U.S. have a well established trade relationship with Metad Plc., an Ethiopian coffee trading company with its own farms spread across eastern and southern coffee regions. But little has been said about the founder of the company, Mrs. Mulumebet Emeru as the first female pilot from Africa who also built a successful coffee company which is today ran by her grandchildren.
Emeru had been trained flying alongside six other male students in 1934 on an English Tiger Moth plane. It is believed that it was these students who contributed to the birth of The Ethiopian Airlines.
In a 1980 interview with Selamta, the in-flight magazine of Ethiopian Airlines Mrs. Emiru is quoted as having said,
“I was overwhelmed. It was a tremendous thrill though I did not realize at the time… that I was Africa’s first woman pilot. But with the war, I gave up flying. Indeed I got married…I would fly several times a week – always over Addis. It was an unusual experience and my friends all envied me.”
After World War II, she was awarded farmland, lush with wild coffee trees, in the Harar and Sidamo regions. She transformed the Harar farmland into a private coffee estate, forever forging the family's deep connection to the land and coffee cultivation.
Metad Plc. is now run by her grandchildren who are U.S. citizens, AmanAdinew, Chairman/CEO and Tariku Adinew, COO of the company which is a member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America; the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe; the Specialty Coffee Association of Japan; and the African Fine Coffees Association.
Aman Adinew CEO Metad Plc
The company produces its own specialty coffee grades 1 and 2 beans, as set forth by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). It also buys from nearby farmers through out-growers program. Seventy five kilometers beyond Yirgacheffe, deep in the heart of some of Ethiopia’s best coffee country, 200 hectare Hambela farm includes a washing station, dry mill, drying beds, a large warehouse and guest bungalows where roasters from Blue Bottle Coffee and Intelligentsia Coffee usually stay during their business trips.
Tariku Adinew COO Metad Plc
Due to the increasing number of roasters from the U.S., the company built the first and only private, state-of-the-art coffee quality control laboratory on the African continent that is certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). Equipped with advanced coffee-tasting technology, the lab allows international buyers to roast, taste and calibrate coffee to their standards and needs.
SCAA and CQI Rep Certifying the Lab
Blue Bottle Coffee's farm visit
Metad Plc also has a washing station and dry mill in the nearby village of Gedeb, Gedio zone. Altogether, Metad employs 28 permanent staff and 700 seasonal staff, 70% or more of which are women, and partner with more than 700 out growers.
Mrs. Emeru’s legacy remains today with her coffee and the Ethiopian Airlines which flies three times a week to New York and Washington D.C. with much bigger planes. And her grandchildren are deeply connected to the international coffee market.