Practice What You Preach: Moyee Becomes Ethiopia’s First ISO 9001 Certified Coffee Roaster

ISO-9001


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Like most ideologically ‘start-ups’, we here at Moyee like a certain amount of, well, speed and flexibility. And that’s fine and well for our marketing guys in Amsterdam. But in Ethiopia, where we are building one of Africa’s most professional roasters, we are preparing ourselves for the long-term FairChain coffee revolution. That means creating a roaster that offers consistent quality, reliability and scalability-on-demand. In other words, Operational Excellence in the heart of Ethiopia – you won’t find a roaster closer the birthplace of Arabica coffee than ours.

Last week Moyee took a giant step in this direction with our ISO 9001 certification. Hey mom, look, we’re the first ISO-certified coffee roaster in Ethiopia. That’s a big win for quality coffee and an even bigger win for social equality.

To break the rules, we first have to play by them. To have global impact, we need an Ethiopian roaster focused on the details. ISO ensures we’re just that.

“We have cultivated a brand reputation as being fun-loving coffee drinking radicals trying to change the world,” says Moyee founder Guido van Staveren. “Well, we are fun-loving coffee drinking radicals trying to change the world, but now we’re radicals with an ISO 9001 certificate. To break the rules, we first have to play by them. To have global impact, we need an Ethiopian roaster focused on the details. ISO ensures we’re just that.”

Since the opening of our Ethiopian roaster we have been openly questioning standard practices in the coffee industry and what we can do to improve on them. We drove wobbly LandRovers deep into the coffee fields, met up with other roasters, read books, consulted specialists and academics on every coffee topic on the planet: supply chain, sales, sourcing green beans, quality management. How can we guarantee the premium-ness of our product every hour of everyday? And how can we ensure our people are challenged and grow in a way we are accustomed to in the West?

For Moyee to grow massively, ISO must become a state of mind in a country Ethiopia that isn’t used to ISO type rules and regulations. This smartness and efficiency in our roaster is necessary to realize the FairChain dream.

After endless internal research and debates, we thought we’d put our answers to the test by inviting ISO into our roaster. We were radically improving our quality and efficiency, but we really wanted official validation, both for ourselves and our growing army of partners and fans. In other words, we wanted the world to know FairChain was legitimate across the board, including — and especially — when it comes operation excellence.

Let’s just call ISO what it is for Moyee: a badge that says we’re not screwing around here. You drink Moyee coffee and you’re helping make a difference!

“Like anyone who has ever walked the ISO path knows, my first impression of ISO was: what a lot of paper work!” says Vincent van Reenen, a Dutchman who relocated to Ethiopia to implement Moyee’s ISO process. “ISO isn’t just about practicing what you preach; it’s also about continuous improvement. It’s not just about producing premium coffee; it’s also about creating environmentally-friendly packaging, efficient logistics, guaranteeing worker safety. This is a real challenge for any organisation, but especially one filled with ideologues out to change the world. Ideologues  aren’t the most organized people in the world. Toss a few cups of radically good coffee, and they’re not the most patient, either.”

On a practical level, Moyee’s Ethiopian roaster now has signage across the floor outlining clear procedures for each step of the coffee chain. For Moyee to grow massively, ISO must become a state of mind in a country Ethiopia that isn’t used to ISO type rules and regulations. This smartness and efficiency in our roaster is necessary to realize the FairChain dream.

“If nothing else, this ISO 9001 certificate is a reminder to all our fans, partners and future employees that Moyee is no longer just a start-up on a mission,” adds Van Staveren. “ISO is a statement of intent, a serious step towards professionalisation. Let’s just call it what it is: a badge that says we’re not screwing around here. You drink Moyee coffee and you are helping changing the world!”

 

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