What makes Ethiopian coffee different?

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. These grains are characterized by their clarity of flavor, with bright and complex notes.

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. After that, Ethiopia's coffee production and export skyrocketed. Today, coffee accounts for about 70% of all export earnings and is essential for the country's economy. It is estimated that 15 million Ethiopians, a quarter of the country's population make a living growing coffee.

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. For hundreds of years, Ethiopia has provided some of the world's best-rated premium single-origin coffee beans. In general, Ethiopian coffees are best known for their complexity, with a spicy, wine-growing quality and a distinctive wild acidity. Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and has some of the most dynamic flavors you'll find anywhere in the world.

There are between 6 and 10 thousand different types of Ethiopian coffee, but they are generally distinguished by their region, altitude and tasting score rather than by type. Since its discovery, it has gradually become Ethiopia's largest export and has remained so through major governmental changes and social upheavals. To this day, 60% of Ethiopia's exports are coffee. Along with the high altitudes in the mountainous regions and just the right amount of rain, Ethiopia is the perfect place for coffee to thrive.

Dry processed coffee has a rich and complex flavor that includes nuanced flavor notes such as berries or citrus. Coffees from this region are better when washed, as they can have the undesirable medicinal taste when processed naturally. Thanks to the lush vegetation, Ethiopian farmers do not have to plant any additional trees to shade their coffee trees. With the exception of a few large government-run farms, almost all of Ethiopia's coffee is grown by smallholder farmers who continue to implement traditional methods.

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. Specific certifications and standards are imposed on coffee farms that wish to sell their beans as the basis for high-quality coffee in Ethiopia. Harrar coffees are a distinctive wild variety specific to the region and are hand-processed by locals. Home to sun-dried and washed coffees, the Sidamo region presents a wide variety of coffee flavors.

Geisha is considered the most prestigious and valued variety of coffee in the world, as the queen of coffee. The most widely grown type of coffee in Ethiopia is mild and aromatic Arabica coffee (Coffea Arabica), which accounts for about 70% of world coffee production. Garden cafes are grown on smaller plots next to a variety of crops and are measured by trees rather than hectares. Dena Haines is co-founder and blogger of EnjoyJava, and is working to make it the best coffee blog in the world.

It is considered the best coffee in the world because roasted ones are grown mainly at high altitudes and in excellent climatic conditions. Instead of measuring coffee crops in hectares as coffee plantations do, garden coffee growers measure their harvest by the number of trees they own. . .

Patrick Draper
Patrick Draper

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