Commissioned in 2019, the Ethiopian Forest Coffee Atlas brought the most successful and thriving coffee cooperatives in Ethiopia together in one atlas. Supported by the Ethiopian government and DC-based NGO Technoserve, the booklet talks about the villagers, workers, and surroundings of each coffee bean cooperative.
Alongside interviews and stories, cupping scores for the beans produced in the region round out each chapter.
The book was circulated to wholesalers such as Nestle, Starbucks, and others with resounding success, prompting similar industries across Africa to reach out to Technoserve for similar books.
Services: Editorial design, book design, creative direction
— Nora Wagman, Program Specialist, Coffee at TechnoServe
As a designed experience, Studio Otherness considered the history and intentions of the atlas: a wayfaring and mapping device. Small details such as latitudes and longitudes act as ornamental elements in the folio, while emphasis is put on the relational proximity of the cooperatives to their regions in Ethiopia.
Chapters are dotted with facts and skimmable insights on the region, adding an approachable and informative aura to browsing through the pages.
A saturated, reportage-style of photography contrasts with the overall map style – minimal and textural which balances a human element with a technical one. Colours were inspired by the transformation of coffee beans from harvest through to roasting, featuring a range of reds, browns, and earthy greens.
The technical nature of a traditional atlas is reconsidered with small stories from members of the cooperative and their daily lives.
Each chapter closes with the region's cooperatives and their available beans, including a cupping score and tasting notes.