Ethiopian Coffee

Many coffee lovers tend to prefer their coffee beans to retain that essential element that is true to them. This is the main contributing factor to the popularity of single source coffee, of which one of the most sought after is the Ethiopian Coffee. This coffee is characterized by a rich flavor profile that comprises of bright fruity notes that are accompanied by high acidity. Both combine to give you distinctly complex notes that unfolds one after the other in every single mouthful.

Top Ethiopian Coffees

Ethiopian Coffee

The History of Ethiopian Coffee

Ethiopia is the oldest producer of coffee in the world and the originator of the Arabica Coffee which constitutes for most of the world’s coffee consumption. The country is teeming with abundant coffee forests with the trees often growing naturally. As such, the country has a strong affinity to coffee as a cultural commodity and there are many traditions that are rooted in unique coffee culture.

Ethiopian coffee is said to be first discovered in the 9th century A.D. by a shepherd who noticed the strange but alluring aroma of coffee in his goats’ breath. After following the route undertaken by his goats to graze on the coffee leaves, the shepherd collected the leaves and brought them home. The family started consuming the leaves by boiling them in water and drinking the resulting concoction.

Ethiopian coffee is now believed to have originated from the highland of Kaffa and surrounding regions. The knowledge of the drink made from coffee leaves spread across the country and beyond and became rooted in the cultural fabric of Ethiopia. It is uncertain when the beans of the coffee were discovered, and the practice of consuming coffee developed into the forms of brew that we are accustomed to today.

Why Ethiopian Coffee?

As the most commonly consumed caffeinated beverage around the world, there is a huge demand for coffee everywhere. Both large corporations and small enterprises owned by individual entrepreneurs have risen to the challenge of meeting the market demands. This has led to an increasingly overcrowded and overly competitive market where every coffee maker is trying something new with their beans to attract more buyers.

It is in this context, that there is Ethiopian Coffee makes its presence felt. Unlike most other coffee found in the marketplace, be they from a big chain or from small individual owned shops, Ethiopian Coffee requires no excessive blending or tweaking. Dedicated coffee enthusiasts aa well as new consumers are always taken in by its characteristically rich flavors and aroma.

Ethiopian coffee is one type that is recommended to all coffee lovers as something they should try out at least once. So, now you are well versed in the background of the coffee and its cultural significance in the coffee tradition. But you must also find yourself wondering about what makes this single source so special. In this section, let us take a close look at the features that lend this coffee its acclaim.

The natural ecosystem

One feature unique to coffee cultivation in Ethiopia are the coffee forests that dot the landscape, especially along the highlands. In places such as these, coffee plans grow alongside fruit trees, bamboos trees, and spices such as cardamom and pepper. This constitutes a natural ecosystem that is nourishing and inherently suited to the growth of good quality coffee beans. Unlike most other coffee producing country around the world, Ethiopia alone derives the bulk of its produce from forested coffee.

Enthusiastic coffee growing culture

Around half the coffee produced in Ethiopia is consumed domestically while the rest is exported. This enthusiastic coffee consuming tradition is supported by acultural ecosystem comprising of most familial units being involved in coffee production. According to data, Ethiopia is the largest coffee producer throughout the continent of Africa.

Almost everyone living in the rural highlands of Ethiopia, no matter what other professions they engage in, also lend a helping hand in their family’s coffee growing plot. This leads to robust coffee production through traditional means passed down through the centuries that contributes to the consistent quality and consecutively, the popularity of Ethiopian coffee.

Complex flavor profile

Ethiopian coffee is characterized by its distinct flavor profiles that are rich and complex and may yet vary depending the region where they were cultivated. Ethiopian brews tend to contain many bright citrus and other fruit flavored notes. While the Guraferda features additional hints of wine and chocolates that are very distinct, the Sidamo is more known for its citrus notes. The Yirgacheffe coffee, on the other hand, is perfect for iced coffee due to the soft floral notes they contain.

The variety of brews

While technically, Ethiopian coffee can be referred to as a single source coffee, for all intents and purposes that term can be a bit misleading in this case. Single source coffee varieties are characterized by the uniform tastes and aromas they present. But Ethiopian coffee varieties exhibits a pretty diverse range in both flavors and aromas.

Whether you try a Guraferda brew, a Sidamo brew, a Harrar, or a Yirgacheffe, you are likely to encounter a very different set of profiles. It is known that Ethiopian coffee has as much variety in teste as offered by blends and brews from the rest of the world.

The Processing

Ethiopian coffee is usually subjected to two distinct types of processing to which the inculcation of their distinct tastes can be attributed. These include dry processing and wet processing. Wet processing constitutes washing the coffee beans free of the dust particles and leaving them unroasted.

Wet processed coffee is green in color and gives off an acidic and bright taste in the cup as opposed to dry processed coffee that gives forth a thick and silky-smooth texture and taste. Dry processing of coffee fruits comprises of drying the fruit in the sun and scrubbing the remnants of the fruit off the beans.

While the Yergacheffe, Sidamo, Limu, and Bebeka variants of Ethiopian coffee undergo wet processing, the Harrar, Sidamo, and Djimmah coffee beans are subjected to dry processing. The processing of coffee beans is one of the most important stages of coffee production as it is during this phase that the beans are lent their distinctive qualities of taste and aroma.

Thus, it is evident that Ethiopian coffee is a unique coffee variant that deserves to be experienced at least once. As the oldest type of coffee that is part of a long history and culture developed around its consumption, this is one coffee that all coffee lovers look forward to consuming.




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