As some of you may know, Ethiopian coffees are always my favorite. A dry-processed, fruit forward Ethiopian bean is always a winner in my book. For many years, they have been the world's best-reviewed single-origin premium coffee beans. As the 5th largest coffee producer in the world, Ethiopia has mastered the art of harvesting and processing the beans and the flavor profiles are perfectly complex and delicious.
There is some debate within the coffee community of the origin of coffee. Ethiopia claims to be the originating country of coffee. So does Yemen.
Yemen legend: So the earliest substantiated origin of coffee is that a Sufi monk was the first to drink and show knowledge of coffee in the middle of the 15th century. Legend has it that they imported the coffee from Ethiopia and used the trees to create a 'wine'. They claimed that this wine provided a spiritual intoxication from their gods. With this legend, there is credible evidence and it is considered proven. But here's the thing. Why would Ethiopia export a coffee tree if they didn't know the value?
Ethiopian Legend: This leads to the Ethiopian legend. Ethiopia is the much more popular assumptive originator of coffee, but remember when we announce this. It is unsubstantiated. The story goes that a goat herder named Kaldi saw goats eat berries from what is now known as a coffee tree and then observed that it made them especially active. He reported this observation and people started using these 'magic' beans for trade. The legend of this energizing bean grew and by the 15th century, coffee was moving all over the Arabian Peninsula.
So that leaves the question. Was Kaldi's observation enough to say that his country (Ethiopia) the originator of coffee? Or was Yemenis conversion of the berry to a 'wine' the origination of coffee? The debate will continue. Either way, coffee is delicious and I love it and am thankful to both countries for their contribution.
It is with no surprise that Ethiopia has the ideal growing environment for producing amazing coffee. The high elevations and mountainous regions make for excellent growing conditions. There are more than a thousand varietals of coffee beans grown in Ethiopia. Due to the fact that coffee trees grow naturally in Ethiopia, most of the coffees are under shade, among other plants, and without the use of agricultural chemicals.
Ethiopian Coffee Tasting Notes
Ethiopian beans are known for their winey quality and bright mouth-feels. They typically have a light to medium body, higher acidity, and complex flavor notes. Most of the coffees from Ethiopia are naturally processed, which means that they are dried with the cherry fruit still attached to the coffee bean. This style of processing gives the coffee fruity or winey tones and bright acidity. Wet processing is a newer method and the fruit is removed. The final cups are clean, floral, and complex.
With that in mind, let me highlight our Ethiopian Coffees.