The story of Hester & Dawit Syoum in Ethiopia.

The story of Hester & Dawit Syoum in Ethiopia.

The Syoum family is a Dutch-Ethiopian coffee farmers' family on a mission, growing specialty coffee and opportunities at the same time. When grandfather Syoum passed away after eighty years of coffee farming, the grandmother visualized her dream at their 2-hectare coffee farm:

“Please, make from our farm a home. A place where all community members feel safe, can learn, and work together to grow a beautiful future.” 

And so Bette Buna was born.

Scaling impact

In Sidama, up to 80% of the people rely economically on coffee, making it the perfect cradle for positive impact. The Tefari Kela farm had always been an important place in the community with an active participation as village elders. Equal treatment and social inclusion has been part of it’s fabric since decades but the impact was limited to it’s size. This inspired Hester and Dawit to expand the farm and seek out new locations in Ethiopia to multiply the success of Tefari Kela. In the Guji Meguda region they found the perfect place to do this: a 220 hectare coffee forest. Here coffee grows like it has for centuries, wild in the forest as well as semi-managed agroforestry plots.

Diverse impact

Fast forward to 2024, now Bette Buna operates several farms and stations, creating impact for thousands of people. This impact is diverse and widespread into different areas. By restoring neglected plots of land into regenerative agroforests Bette Buna contributes to a healthier planet. Through education and empowerment initiatives for local farmers, alongside serving as a role model and providing access to financing and seedlings, Bette Buna is a pillar of strength in the communities. Bette Buna also invests in an inclusive team of farm employees. Instead of resorting to common day-to-day hiring practices, Bette Buna offers a comprehensive and safe work-and-learn program that enables employees to develop skills in farming and processing.

Bram's personal note

Hester and I share a similar story, both born and raised in The Netherlands but with an insatiable urge to look beyond our borders. Hester ended up in Ethiopia, like I found myself in Costa Rica. We both married people with different upbringings and cultural backgrounds as our own. This forged an instant connection and friendship. This was fuelled even more by our common understanding that the coffee industry has a huge potential to be the vehicle for impact around the world.

At this point, I had been buying coffee in Ethiopia for three years and gotten frustrated and beaten down by the lack of traceability and transparency in the coffee buying process there. It seemed like that, since the coffee is so incredibly good, all the rest didn’t matter. In Hester and Dawit I found a different type of partner. As they do not come from a coffee back ground they focused on traceability, impact and sustainability first; opposed to just exporting great coffee and fluffing up the story afterwards. This was the breathe of fresh air I desperately needed as a coffee buyer in Ethiopia.

When I developed the idea of Paso Paso I was focused on Central America and my close friends there. Although I personally love the unique flavours of Ethiopian coffee, I had not find anyone in five years that could align with our ideas. Until I met Hester and decided to look beyond my borders again, this time of my second home of Central America, and invite the Syoum family to become part of Paso Paso and include the most innovative coffee company in Ethiopia in our project.

We are incredibly proud that Hester was featured in edition 33 of Standart magazine with a full length interview. If you'd like to learn more about Hester and Dawit pick up a copy or send us a message. 

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