What is special about Ethiopian coffee?

Ethiopian coffee is known for its bright, fruity and floral flavors. These coffees tend to have higher acidity, a light to medium body and complex flavor notes. The grains are washed or processed in a natural way. The processing method used (2) has a great impact on the final taste of the coffee.

Ethiopian beans as a whole are known for their wine quality and bright mouthfeel. They usually have a light to medium body, higher acidity and complex flavor notes. Most coffees in Ethiopia are processed naturally, which means they are dried with the cherry fruit still attached to the coffee bean. This style of processing gives coffee fruity or vinous tones and a bright acidity.

Wet processing is a newer method and fruit is removed. The final cups are clean, floral and complex. Ethiopia is serious about the quality of its coffee. As the homeland of all coffees enjoyed around the world, their reputation will be significantly affected if they export low-quality coffee.

The quality of coffee has an impact on its price in the world market. As the fifth largest producer of Arabica coffee beans in the world, Ethiopian coffee undergoes rigorous processing to maintain superior coffee quality. Ethiopia has several different growing regions for coffee. Each growing region is known for growing coffee beans that have their own unique flavor.

And the flavors of coffee grown in different regions of Ethiopia are very different. But they do have some points in common. Coffee grown in Ethiopia is known for having a bright mouthfeel and tasting something like wine. Ethiopian coffees have higher acidity levels than most, with light to medium body and nuanced flavors.

Sometime around 850 d. C., a young goatherd named Kaldi used to take his goats to graze in the pastures of Kaffa province. One day, after eating berries from a nearby bush, the animals began to jump with excitement. Kaldi decided to try some berries himself.

He also felt euphoric and full of energy. Ethiopia began exporting coffee in the 15th century. Somali merchants brought coffee to Yemen, where Sufi mystics drank it so that they could better concentrate on their songs. A couple of centuries later, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church banned coffee altogether.

Ethiopians only consumed coffee again at the end of the 19th century thanks to Emperor Menelik II, who himself liked drinking. Ethiopian washed coffees are known for their elegant and complex flavor with floral, herbal and citrus notes. They are lighter and drier on the palate than naturally processed coffees and have an almost tea-like delicacy. Their body is not too strong and they usually reveal a mild and pleasant acidity.

Ethiopian coffee grows mainly in southern mountainous regions with deep, fertile volcanic soils at altitudes up to 8,858 feet. This coffee tends to have a much higher quality and more complex flavor notes than coffees that come from lower elevations. Because Ethiopia's coffee-producing regions are incredibly varied, flavor profiles differ markedly from region to region, between different microregions and even farms. Located in the west of the country at altitudes of 5,570-7,210 feet above sea level, the Gimbi region is known for its wet-processed coffees.

The varieties grown in Gimbi have a heavy body, medium to pointed acidity and a nuanced flavor profile with a fruity finish. Gimbi coffees are an important part of the blends of many roasters, although they can also be gourmet coffees from a single origin. Ethiopia is one of the largest coffee producers in the world. However, it exports less than half of what it grows.

In other words, it consumes more than half of its own production. That means about 500 million pounds of coffee for a population of nearly 100 million, a particularly impressive amount, since almost half of the population is under 14 years of age. By contrast, Kenya consumes only three percent of its production, while Colombia exports more than 86 percent of its coffee. 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. Ethiopian Ghimbi coffees are a variety of wet-processed (washed) coffee grown in western Ethiopia. Ghimbi coffee is known to have a heavier body than Ethiopian Harrar coffees, and is also more balanced with a longer lasting body. Ghimbi is known for its complex flavor and rich, sharp acidity.

I don't know why, but I really don't like Ethiopian coffee and African coffees in general that I tend to avoid. I used to believe that all Ethiopian beans are good, until I bought the single-origin series Ethiopian Sidamo from Starbucks. Most Ethiopian coffees are grown in high elevation valleys, which sounds a bit contradictory, but bear with me. Since then, farmers have simply labelled most of their coffee under a fairly generic variety called the “Ethiopian relic”.

When coffee hounds see the beans being described as Ethiopian, there are some assumptions they can make about what coffee will look like once it is ground and brewed. 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. This incredible genetic strain of Ethiopian coffee means that it is more resistant to diseases, which is essential to combat leaf rust. Although it is a light roast, the 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 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. Grown in the Illubabor and Kaffa regions at elevations of 4,400 to 6,000 feet above sea level, Djimmah coffee is an excellent, low-acid Ethiopian coffee when wet processed (washed). Every day, Ethiopians hold various prolonged coffee ceremonies in which raw, unwashed coffee beans are transformed into cups of fragrant coffee. Ethiopian coffee is recognizable by a light to medium body, relatively low acidity and bright fruity or floral flavors, depending on the region in which it is grown and the method of processing.

Ethiopian coffee differs significantly from any coffee due to its diverse flavor profiles and unique tasting notes. From there, coffee is sold and delivered to Ethiopian exporters and brokers, who organize the wholesale process with other countries. . .

Patrick Draper
Patrick Draper

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