Just like all of our coffee spotlight posts, we’re going back to the source. Ethiopia has long been credited as not only being the origin of coffee, but the origin of humanity itself! That’s right–Ethiopia is widely considered as the region from which homosapiens set out for the Middle East and beyond. It is also where the legend of Kaldi, the discoverer of coffee, originated along with coffee consumption. In other words, Ethiopia is where it all began!
Ethiopia’s Early Coffee Beginnings
But the way in which coffee was consumed during its early days in Ethiopia is still much of a debate. From what we know, coffee probably wasn’t consumed as a beverage right off the bat. More likely the coffee cherries were chewed as a source of energy by slaves who brought coffee with them on their journeys. This is the principle behind the theory of how coffee arrived in the Arabian Peninsula and ultimately began to be first cultivated on a large scale.
Ethiopian Coffee Today
Fast forward to today. Coffee still plays a major role in Ethiopia’s economy as well as Ethiopians’ daily lives. Roughly 12 million Ethiopians (14% of the population) earn a living producing 200,000 tons of coffee per year. The interesting part here is that only half of the Arabica beans are exported out of Ethiopia. The other half remains in Ethiopia for domestic consumption. It has been noted that Ethiopians drink the more coffee than any other nation in Africa!
The Unique Taste of Ethiopian Blends
Beans grown just a few hundred miles apart in Ethiopia are exceptionally different and diverse in taste. Beans from one farm can yield delicate floral, almost tea like qualities. Travel a few hours away and you’ll find beans with intense notes of blueberries. Travel even further and you’ll come across beans known for bold, red wine characteristics.
Coffee-growing variables like microclimate, processing methods and soil composition are all attributing factors to the diversity of Ethiopian coffee and contribute to the vast array of varietals grown in the region. In other coffee-growing countries, the amount of varietals that have been introduced is quite small, creating a restricted genetic base for the beans to evolve. Arabica beans in Ethiopia, however, are indigenous to the land. Over time, through natural cross pollination, different varietals have yielded a wide genetic base.
“What’s so intriguing about Ethiopian coffee is how much variety there is.”
Roasterie’s Ethiopian Blends
We offer four different Ethiopian coffees, each of which demonstrates the vastness of variety associated with Ethiopian coffee:
- Ethiopian Natural: With intense blueberry and apricot flavors, this smooth and mellow coffee is snappy with a great lingering finish.
- Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Ayinage Reserve: Similar to black tea in body and mildness with notes of ripe citrus and sweet red berries.
- Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Fair Trade Organic: A rich, flavorful coffee indicative of burgundy wine, heralded by citrus characteristics and floral aroma.
- Ethiopian Sidamo: The last of our Ethiopian offerings has a maple syrup-like body and sweet citrus aromatics.
When it comes to choosing Ethiopian coffee, there is no bad choice. All offer something different and tasty. Since we don’t know your taste preference, we recommend sampling a little of each to find the one that’s right for you!
Want to learn more about our coffees and their origins? Schedule a tour of The Roasterie!