Ethiopia

Coffee production in Ethiopia is a long tradition dating back decades. Ethiopia is the origin of Coffea arabica, the coffee plant. The plant is now cultivated in different parts of the world; Ethiopia itself accounts for about 3% of the world coffee market. Coffee is important to Ethiopia's economy; about 60% of foreign revenue comes from coffee, about 15 million of the population relies on some aspects of coffee production for their existence.

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Of all the coffee-producing countries, Ethiopia is perhaps the most fascinating. Its popularity came from the unusual, astonishing coffees it can produce in high quantity. The floral and fruity coffee from Ethiopia was noticed by many professionals in the industry.

Ethiopia is called the birthplace of coffee. It was here where it was consumed by humans, initially as a fruit rather than a beverage. Yemen was the first country to grow coffee as a crop, but it had been exported from Ethiopia in 1600.

PRODUCTION SYSTEMS

Ethiopia’s coffee productions are divided into three main categories, depending on their method of production.

FOREST COFFEES

These come from the wild trees from nature, this can be found mostly in the southwest of the country. These trees usually have a mixture of natural shade plants around them. The harvest and yield of these trees are low compared to the consciously planted coffee trees.

GARDEN COFFEES

These are coffees from trees typically planted in household gardens. The tree has a less natural shade. Many farmers use some fertilizer on their plants. This type of coffee makes up most of Ethiopia’s production.

PLANTATION COFFEES

These coffees come from trees grown on larger farms. They are prepared with agricultural practices such as pruning, mulching.

Interest returned to Ethiopian coffee in the early 1800s, when there was recorded the highest number of the export of one hundred quintals of coffee from Enerea, an area of modern-day Ethiopia. In the 1950s there was a time of increased structure in the Ethiopian coffee industry and a new grading system.

In 1991 when the country moved towards democracy the international markets opened up for Ethiopia. However, that caused fluctuating market prices. Coffee farmers in Ethiopia, in particular, have had to survive large, uncontrollable price swings. This has given rise to the formation of cooperatives, offering support to the local farmers. They were offered help in funding, market information, and transport.

TRACEABILITY

It is possible to find Ethiopian coffees from a single area, though it’s relatively hard. However, the roaster may simply have bought a coffee that had come through the ECX and it could still be amazing despite its lack of transparency. These coffees have much to offer in taste if it’s chosen carefully.

Once difficult to trace, the quality and origin of coffee are becoming more traceable. This allows consumers to make their choices based on more information about where and how their coffee is harvested.

TASTE PROFILE

The flavors of Ethiopian coffees are diverse. You can find anything from citrus, often bergamot, and florals through to candied fruit or even tropical fruit flavors. The best-washed coffees can be elegant, complex, and delicious when they are prepared correctly.