ABURY meets Ethiopian Coffee Experts Sali and Sara Nuru

 Sali and Sara Nuru laughing black and white photographed by Patrice Brylla
© Patrice Brylla

Coffee is more than the bean in the packaging. It is a lifestyle, it is culture, and it offers opportunities beyond import and export. Sara Nuru and Sali Nuru are not only part of our renowned team of jury members at the ABURY Design Experience, they are also real experts when it comes to Ethiopia and coffee. These two visionary sisters with a dream to empower women in Ethiopia inspired us to talk about their business NuruCoffee and learn about the importance of coffee for the people of Ethiopia and beyond.

Better known as the winner of the fourth cycle of Germany’s Next Topmodel, Sara Nuru decided to explore new terrain as entrepreneur next to her supermodel career and joined forces with her sister Sali in 2016 to found NuruCoffee – fair trade, organic coffee from Ethiopia. Born and raised in Germany, the two sisters still feel a strong connection to their Ethiopian roots, which is why NuruCoffee is also a matter of the heart. Women are disadvantaged in the value chain of coffee production, which is why a particular focus of the organisation is to identify and facilitate opportunities to enable them to live an independent life.

Meet Sali and Sara Nuru – and learn how drinking coffee fosters women empowerment:

Sali and Sara Nuru from NuruCoffee laughing
© Patrice Brylla

Sali and Sara Nuru, start by tagging yourself with three words.

Sali: loyal, diligent, sensitive
Sara: warm, funny, easy

What is the last thing you created with your hands?

Sali: The last thing I created was a whole big meal for my friend and family.
Sara: I’m right now in the making of a self-knitted pillow case.

If you could choose, what would you like to be able to do with your hands?

Sali: I would love to paint like Bob Ross.
Sara: I would love to make pottery and create my own dishes.

“One of a Mind” underlines our strong belief in equality and the value of sharing. How does intercultural exchange benefit our global society in your eyes?

We believe that any kind of cultural exchange is important and benefits every individual.

Sara Nuru and Sali Nuru with Ethiopian woman
© Christina Czybik
You are both German with Ethiopian roots. What differentiates Ethiopia from other countries? What does it have that no other culture has?

Ethiopia has a long historical background. In fact, it is the only African country that was not colonised. Because of that, Ethiopian people live their old traditions until today with great pride. Apart from that Ethiopia has over 80 ethnicities who all have their own languages.

To what extent is the Ethiopian culture present in your everyday life? Do you follow any typical Ethiopian rituals?

We both celebrate the traditional coffee ceremony, our mother used to do that every week so now we continue that tradition and do the same.

Sara Nuru and Sali Nuru during Ethiopian coffee ceremony
© Christina Czybik
Talking about other senses, how would you describe the “Tastes of Ethiopia” and – apart from coffee 🙂 – what is your favourite?

We love the food, of course, especially the injera with the different sauces and vegetables. The Ethiopian kitchen is based on a lot of vegan recipes.

Last year you started NuruCoffee, fair trade coffee from Ethiopia. How has the idea evolved? Why coffee?

Our business is still at the beginning and very young. But we are really happy that we could realise our dream: to finally start something that matters to us. Coffee has a huge standing in Ethiopia. It is not only the biggest export resource but Ethiopia is also the original country of coffee. Inspired by the fact that many people do not know that, this is the way we started: We imported Ethiopian coffee to tell its untold story and at the same time spread awareness about the beauty of the country.

Ethiopian Women in the Coffee Fields
© Photo via Sara and Sali Nuru
Fields of Ethiopian Coffee
© Photo via Sara and Sali Nuru
You are also following the vision of supporting local women – which goes beyond fair trade and ethical production. Can you tell us more about the social causes of NuruCoffee?

Besides selling high-quality Ethiopian coffee we also support Ethiopian women in need by providing them with micro credits to start their own business. A micro credit is often the only chance for women to live an independent and self-determined life next to their man.

Education for Women in Ethiopia
© Photo via Sara and Sali Nuru
Lastly, moving to fashion. How would you describe your style?

Sali: Legere, cool, chic
Sara: Sophisticated, clean

We are curious – Which one is your favourite ABURY bag?

We both cannot decide, we like all of them and it depends on the mood 🙂

Lara Petersen

Lara Petersen

After her studies abroad and exploring the world for many years, Lara returned to Berlin in 2015 and ever since combines her passions cultures, communication and writing by working as part of the ABURY family. Lara is the editor-in-chief and admin of the One of a Mind blogzine by ABURY.

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