Why is 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. The processing method used (2) has a great impact on the final taste of the coffee.

Ethiopia is famous for its coffee beans. However, with all the different types of coffee grown in Ethiopia, it can be a little confusing to talk to someone about their last cup and differences from a single origin: Sidamo, yirgacheffe or maybe even a Harrar. 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 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.

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. Harrar is known for its intense flavor and fruity acidity. It is described as rich and spicy, with strong hints of blueberry or blackberry. It is usually full-bodied and has been compared to dry red wine.

Its intensity means that it is most commonly used in espresso blends, rather than a single source. Limu coffee grows in southwestern Ethiopia between 1,100 and 1,900 m, a, s, l. A washed coffee with a relatively low acidity, it has a well-balanced body and a distinctive spicy taste that is pleasantly sweet and often has floral notes. This region in southwestern Ethiopia is a major producer of commercial quality coffee.

It grows at an altitude of 1,400 to 2,100 m, a, s, l. Also written as Djimmah, coffees from this region are the best when washed and can acquire a medicinal flavor if processed naturally. 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. 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.

In general, consumers want to buy from a supplier who can roast freshly brewed coffee and order whole beans. What motivated me when I first tried African coffee beans was that the coffee didn't taste like coffee at all. Coffee plants grow wild at appropriate altitudes, which explains the diversity in coffee flavor profiles. Home to sun-dried and washed coffees, the Sidamo region presents a wide variety of coffee flavors.

Most coffees in Ethiopia are processed naturally, which means they are dried with the cherry fruit still attached to the coffee bean. 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. Sidamo coffees are known for their richness, full body, vibrant acidity and floral and citrus notes. Because of the altitude, SHG coffees grow more slowly, allowing more nutrients to be delivered to the coffee beans.

Ethiopia's Harrar region is located in the eastern highlands and is home to some of the oldest coffee beans still grown. The western region of Ethiopia produces Ghimbi coffee beans that are distinguished by their rich and sharp acidity and the complexity of flavors and aromas. At these elevations, the growth rate slows down, allowing coffee to absorb more nutrients, creating a stronger and brighter palate. This region around the equator is endowed with mild temperatures and lots of rain, the optimal climate for growing coffee.

They are lighter and drier on the palate than naturally processed coffees and have an almost tea-like delicacy. Arabica has its origin in Ethiopia and is believed to be the first coffee species to be grown. In fact, few countries show the wide range of different flavor profiles that Ethiopian coffee has, which is a testament to its coffee culture. .

.

Patrick Draper
Patrick Draper

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