Coffee Origins: Ethiopia and the start of all things coffee

I have always encountered two types of coffee people. Those who love African coffees, and those who do not. The taste is surely not for everyone, and understandably so. Typically, specialty lots from these regions tend to taste bright and fruity with large amounts of acidity in the bean. It is easy to pick out notes of blueberries, grapefruits and scents of flowers with an intense aftertaste. It can be overwhelming to some coffee drinkers, especially if drinking coffee black. 

The arabica coffee plant that we all love and enjoy is grown all over the world, but that was not always the case. Only in the past three centuries has coffee really grown worldwide thanks to old world trade and British colonization. The arabica plant originates from the Sudan, specifically the Yirgacheffe and Sidamo regions of Ethiopia. Botanists and scientists are still trying to make sense of all the varieties of arabica coffee grown in the region, but what they all agree on is that almost all other varieties have stemmed from these plants. 

The heirloom varieties that grow in Ethiopia grow both on farm land and openly in the wild. The arabica shrubs thrive due to a mixture of growing conditions at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level and a sub-tropical climate. This combination makes for easy cultivation by family farmers in the area. Many farms around the world grow one to three different varieties of shrubs depending on the climate. However, in Ethiopia you can find hundreds of different varieties and hybrids growing together.  This makes Ethiopia distinctively unique with different taste profiles recognized by each region and farm. 

This month we found an amazing coffee grown by family farmers in the Sidamo region of Ethiopia. The growers are a co-op of families that pool their harvests. They take great pride in their coffee and put a tremendous amount of effort in harvesting the best quality. Having the best quality coffee ensures that their sales go directly towards supporting their families. The coffees are naturally pesticide free, as the growers in this region cannot afford the cost of using commercial pesticides. The coffee is also organic, but the farmers are unable to afford the price of organic certification so you would never know! It is picked by hand and then brought to the processing mill in the Dumerso Village. It is then set to dry in the hot sun which is known as a natural processing method. Using this method is what contributes to the heavy syrupy and fruity taste that is distinctive to coffees from these regions. The lot we have procured is less acidic than most Sidamo coffee, but is full bodied with floral notes and blueberry after tastes. Order some today and expect freshly roasted coffee beans at your door!

Tim MonsonComment