Is Ethiopian coffee robust?

The birthplace of coffee, my favorite toasts come from Ethiopia. Your grains are processed wet or dry and each method changes the flavor of the grain substantially. Wet-processed coffee is lighter and lemony, while dry-processed coffee is richer and much more complex, often with strong berry and citrus notes. Ethiopian yirgacheffe is highly regarded for its clean, balanced and smooth flavor profile with hints of berries, nuts, chocolate, lemon and wine.

But my favorite Ethiopian coffees come from the Harrar region. Coffee from this region is dry-processed and has strong wine-like characteristics with complex fruit flavors and a rich body. Regardless of the region, the natural sweetness of Ethiopian coffees makes them better enjoyed without added sweeteners, and they make especially good espresso beans. The reason for this, apart from the consideration of Coffea arabica as one of the best highland coffees in the world, is that the plant originates from the green plateaus of Ethiopia, located in the northeastern part of the Horn of Africa.

Ethiopian coffee is known for being bright and citrus with a high acidity. It has a light to medium body and offers a complex but delicate tasting experience, especially if you're used to over-roasted coffee from chains like Starbucks. Let's dig a little deeper into each region in a moment. First, here is a map of the Ethiopian coffee growing regions.

Ethiopia's Harrar region is located in the eastern highlands and is home to some of the oldest coffee beans still grown. Produces tasty and aromatic dry processed coffee, also known as natural or unwashed coffee. This variety is harvested at the highest elevations of the Sidamo region (also Sidama) of Ethiopia, near the village of Yirga Ch'efe. Ethiopia Yirgachefe is typically wet processed, which means it is washed.

The Yirgachefe variety is largely considered the pinnacle coffee crop of Ethiopia. The venerated Sidamo region is located in the central highlands of Ethiopia. Most likely, coffee originated here, whether the legends are true or not. At these elevations, the growth rate slows down, allowing coffee to absorb more nutrients, creating a stronger and brighter palate.

A little west of the capital, located in central Ethiopia, is the Limu region. This variety is also a wet-processed coffee and tends to be sharper than other Ethiopian coffees, which some people strongly prefer. Teppi coffee beans tend to have the wildest taste of all Ethiopian coffees with a distinct citrus profile. This uniqueness makes it an excellent choice to blend with other Ethiopian coffee beans from less wild regions to create a complex cup that highlights the wide range of flavors that Ethiopia has to offer.

Each region has its own distinct characteristics and flavor profile, but maintains the softness, bold acidity and slightly citrus flavor that Ethiopian Arabica coffee beans are best known for. Due to the rich flavors and individual characteristics of the beans, there is simply no category of “the best Ethiopian coffee beans” offered here. From the individual tastes of the consumer to the nature of roasting and brewing, this whole process is very personal. The Ethiopian nomadic mountain peoples of the Galla tribe collected the coffee beans, ground them and mixed them with animal fat, forming nutritious energy balls that served to sustain them during long journeys.

Other indigenous tribes in Ethiopia ate the beans as porridge or drank a wine created from fermented and crushed coffee beans. The cafes of the 15th century quickly became a favorite meeting place. In contemporary Ethiopia, old ways are still valid. Every day, families gather around the coffee maker, known as “jebena “, and prepare rich and spicy Ethiopian coffees in a traditional coffee ceremony that is anything but instant.

In fact, Arabica beans account for 59% of world coffee production, placing Ethiopia as the world's fifth largest producer. The government agency that oversees business with respect to everything related to coffee and tea, including determining the price at which washing stations buy coffee from local farmers, is appropriately called the Ethiopian Tea and Coffee Authority. The market is heavily regulated through licenses, with the aim of avoiding the concentration of the domestic market. Interestingly, even with such a high volume, the methods in which Ethiopian coffee is produced have not changed much since the 10th century.

In fact, almost all Ethiopian production is still done by hand, from planting new trees to final harvesting. According to the Barista Institute, an unusual but fascinating aspect of enjoying Ethiopian coffee is that, while we can tell which region the coffee comes from, it is almost impossible to distinguish the variety. Since then, farmers have simply labelled most of their coffee under a fairly generic variety called the “Ethiopian relic”. So how do we choose an Ethiopian coffee bean to taste? If you are new to Ethiopian coffee beans and are looking for an excellent roast to try, here are two options.

The fruity, lightly roasted flavor profile of Stone Street Coffee Company's Ethiopian yirgacheffe is a definite recommendation. Although it is a light roast, Stone Street Yirgacheffe is still an intense coffee that enlivens the palate with the familiar and distinctive Ethiopian floral bouquet, but also a soft softness that is unique and bright. The medium-roasted, wine-growing and complex nature of Ajuvo Ethiopian Coffee's Limu variety makes it a spicy and sensual recommendation. Many of us tend to measure our existence such as T, S.

Eliot did it — for coffee spoons. And if so, Ethiopian coffee gives us excellent motivation to savor the enduring legacy of its rich history. Given that it is as robust in taste and complexity as it is in stature among the world's coffee communities, Ethiopian coffee could well be their next obsession with java. It is a wild arabica grown on small farms in the region of Oromia (formerly Harrar) at elevations between 1,400 and 2,000 meters.

Ethiopian coffee beans grown in the Harar, Yirgacheffe or Limu regions are kept separate and marketed under their regional name. These regional varieties are trademark names with Ethiopian proprietary rights. Harar is located in the eastern highlands of Ethiopia. It is one of the oldest coffee beans still being produced and is known for its distinctive fruity and winey flavor.

Coffee bean shells are used in a tea called hasher-qahwa. The grain is medium in size with a yellowish greenish color. It has a medium acidity and a full body and a distinctive mocha flavor. Harar is a dry processed coffee bean with sorting and processing carried out almost entirely by hand.

Although the processing is done by hand, workers know very well how each bean is classified. From another perspective, there are thousands of varieties of arabica coffee (arabica coffee) growing in Ethiopia. For example, Ethiopian beans contain 1.13% caffeine. Compared to Robusta beans, which have a caffeine content of 2.4%, Ethiopian beans have almost less than half that content.

If you compare Ethiopian beans to their decaffeinated counterparts, the former obviously has more caffeine. The decaffeination process removes at least 97% of the caffeine content of coffee. Therefore, theoretically, Ethiopian decaffeinated beans would have a maximum caffeine content of 0.0339%. Everyone in the coffee production process, such as producers and farmers, is paid adequately for their hard work.

The brewed cup of Limu coffee is distinguished by its well-balanced body (mouthfeel) and remarkable flavors, vinous and spicy, pleasantly sweet and vibrant. When Emperor Menelik II ascended the Ethiopian throne in 1889, he lifted the ban on coffee implemented by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Almost 50% of the coffee produced locally in the country is consumed by Ethiopians as part of their daily lives. Just like there are many types of apples, there are many types of coffee cherries (the fruit that contains the coffee bean).

The coffee comes from the province of Sidamo, in the Ethiopian highlands, at elevations from 1,500 to 2,200 meters above sea level. The Tea and Coffee Authority, part of the federal government, handles everything related to coffee and tea, such as setting the price at which washing stations buy coffee from farmers. Many people also use the word “strength” to describe the degree of bitterness or “roasted taste” in coffee. Ethiopian Ghimbi coffees are a variety of wet-processed (washed) coffee grown in western Ethiopia.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia's mountains and hills provide high elevations that help coffee cherries develop their flavors before they fully ripen. Cooperative unions and coffee owners on plantations can directly export their coffee to international buyers, but private exporters generally buy their coffee through the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) and export their coffees to international buyers. The complex blend of species and varieties that are native to Ethiopia gives these coffees their unique flavors. Ethiopians do this because Panamanians once stole the Geisha variety from them and they don't want that to happen again.

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Patrick Draper
Patrick Draper

Total bacon practitioner. Proud coffee expert. Freelance internet maven. Zombie scholar. General bacon specialist. Devoted coffee junkie.