Buku is one of the highest-altitude coffee growing areas in Ethiopia, which creates optimal conditions for stellar cup quality. The farm plots are scattered throughout the highlands at 2,000-2,350 meters above sea level. Farmers in the surrounding area transport their harvest on horseback due to the uneven terrain of the village.
Like so many in the coffee industry, Esayas Beriso began his career in an unrelated field, working in a government office in Dimtu. During this time, he and his brothers began a small operation of collecting area farmers' red coffee cherries and selling them to local wet mills.
As this operation grew, Esayas planted his own coffee trees. In 2009, he left his government job behind to become a full-time coffee business owner. His wife, Meskerem Tomas, manages the harvesting operations on Buku Abel, their nearly 40-hectare farm. In keeping with the original business model, Esayas and family also purchase cherry from outgrowers, or neighboring farms.
The Dega variety originated as a Gedeo local landrace, which is a variety selected from a wild coffee population that has adapted to its local environment and conditions. The literal Amharic translation of "dega" means "highland and cooler areas", which is consequently where this variety is often grown. As an official Jimma Agricultural Research Center (JARC) selection, this particular variety is likely genetically similar to the historical Dega local landrace.