Ethiopian Coffee and Culture
Known for its diverse topography, huge variety of geographical sub-regions and stunning landscapes, Ethiopia is the sole home of many wild coffee varieties. Ethiopia is currently the 5th largest producer of coffee in the world, the country is responsible for delivering around 7.7 million sacks to the market each year. Whether you’ve heard the story of the young goat-herder and his goats on the upland plains, or not, Ethiopia is where it all began as far as coffee is concerned.
If trying authentic Ethiopian coffee is on your bucket list, keep reading to find out all you need to know about the wonderful world of Ethiopian coffee.
Ethiopian Production Regions
The most popular type of Ethiopian coffee is from the Sidamo region which covers a large area spreading through the fertile highlands to the south of Lake Awasa in Rift valley. Sidamo is made up of 20 administrative areas, or woredas, that all have varying microclimates and altitudes. Sidamo region is recognised as one of the three trademark coffee regions in Ethiopia as well as known for having perfect climate conditions for coffee due to its great altitudes, ample rainfall, fertile soil and ideal temperature.
Yirgacheffe is one of the most popular growing regions in Ethiopia albeit part of the Sidamo region. This large, green area boosts perfect growing conditions, fertile soil and high altitudes. Yirgacheffe is a heavily populated region with many villages growing ‘Garden Coffee’. The ethereal washed coffee of Yirgacheffe is so highly recognised that it has been sub-divided into its own micro-region, trademarked by Ethiopian government.
Harrar is the third most popular region of Ethiopia’s trademark names, and home to one of the original grades of Ethiopian coffee. Harrar coffee was known as being of the highest quality in the 19th century and to date it is still highly recognised for its quality of Ethiopian coffee beans, and is highly desirable. Harrar coffee has a huge range of flavours, due to its distinct winy flavour, it means that this coffee is usually used in espresso blends to add fruit notes. Harrar coffee can vary in preparation and can result in the difficulty of roasting evenly, which adds to the charm and appeal of Harrar coffee.