When we tell the In coffee talk, it refers to a coffee-producing region or country; such as, “I was just at origin.” Of course “Origin” for most product we use is not… …more story about coffee, it must be the story of Ethiopian coffee. It is in the forests of the Kaffa region of the west and the adjacent Boma Plateau where The botanical genus colloquially referred to as the “coffea genus,” which is comprised of over 120 individual species. These are generally opposite-leaved, evergreen shrubs or small understory trees… …more Arabica refers to Coffea Arabica, the taxonomic species name of the genus responsible for around 75% of the worlds commercial coffee crop.: Arabica refers to Coffea Arabica, the… …more developed under a canopy of tall forest trees. Coffee is “bun” or “buna” in Ethiopia, so “coffee bean” is quite possibly a an interpretation of “Kaffa bun”.
We consider Ethiopian coffees to be some of the best in the world, and the greater genetic diversity of the Ethiopian coffee shrub is likely part of the reason. Unique varieties matter, but also their adaptation to the diverse growing regions, from Guji, Sidama and Yirga cheffe / Gedeo zones of the south, to Harar in the east and Jimma, Agaro, Gera, Kaffa and Wollega in the west.
But how the coffee cherry is processed after it is harvested from the tree has perhaps the most influence on cup character in the end. Wet-process Ethiopian coffees can possess sparkling-bright acidity, with citric fruited suggestions, while sweet spice and florals cand dominate the aromatics. Dry-processed coffees are laid directly on the raised beds from the tree, and this dried-in-the-fruit practice strongly shapes the resulting flavors. Dried fruit notes dominate, from berry to mango to peach to … well, a literal cornucopia of fruits! Dry process coffees, also called “naturals,” also have thick body and a intensity of flavors overall that is hard to rival. Even people who say “all coffee tastes the same to me” will know when they taste a natural Ethiopia, formerly known as Abyssinia, or a coffee cultivar: Ethiopia, or more specifically the Empire under Haile Selassie, was known as Abyssinia. The name is Latin, derived from… …more coffee!
An organization we worked with for several years, Technoserve, created these Region is a more specific area within the country. Arabica coffee grows roughly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Country of Origin is where… …more maps with funding from Nespresso. These do not represent all the coffee areas of Ethiopia, formerly known as Abyssinia, or a coffee cultivar: Ethiopia, or more specifically the Empire under Haile Selassie, was known as Abyssinia. The name is Latin, derived from… …more. Missing from this set is the greater Harar/Hararghe region among others. But they offer excellent detail marking locations of many of the cooperatives and other farm sites we work with. Clicking on the image should open a closer view, from which you can zoom further. The first map below is especially useful to understanding the orientation of the major coffee regions in relation to the capital, Addis Ababa. To this I have also added the maps focusing on the key regions for us at Sweet Maria’s, based on the Woreda (county) map from Wikipedia.
Coffee varies because coffee is agriculture. As a culture of coffee consumption, we might not think coffee as a farmed crop. It might seem like any other product that appears on a shelf of the store…
When you find a really great coffee like the dry-processed types from the South, it is like eating Michigan peaches at the height of the season – sweet, juicy, In some coffee taster’s lexicon, “fruity” means the coffee is tainted with fruit, and “fruited” means a coffee is graced by positive fruit notes. We don’t exactly see… …more, and ripe with flavor. But then those peaches are gone, and you hope that the next season will produce the same results. Similarly, the cup profile of these coffees can be equally amazing, but when they’re gone, they’re gone. If all the factors line up just right, it might be the same next year. But then again, maybe not.
The fact that coffee attributes can be fleeting from year-to-year makes sourcing a challenge. We often have to look in new places for those prized characteristics. Sometimes other factors of the trade have the same effect. For example, we believe that a lot of coffee previously sold as “Yirgacheffe” was coming into the area from adjacent regions, due to the fact the buyers were all seeking Yirga Cheffe.
Now this dynamic has changed, and we are finding great coffees from all those other regions, but Yirga cheffe itself can seem inconsistent in quality. At the same time, break-out regions of Sidama, formerly sold in bulk blends, are now distinguishing themselves, such as Bensa, Chire and Nensebo.
We spend a lot of energy each harvest year looking for Ethiopian coffees to import. The reason is that Ethiopia, formerly known as Abyssinia, or a coffee cultivar: Ethiopia, or more specifically the Empire under Haile Selassie, was known as Abyssinia. The name is Latin, derived from… …more is worth it to u: It’s our top coffee In coffee talk, it refers to a coffee-producing region or country; such as, “I was just at origin.” Of course “Origin” for most product we use is not… …more at Sweet Maria’s, and the range of taste attributes and potential for amazing cup quality demands our primary focus. That doesn’t mean all Ethiopian coffee is good, and Coffee is sorted by size, density, and color in its preparation for export.: Sorting refers to several steps performed in the preparation of coffee for export. Coffee is… …more through the abundant offerings is a huge job each harvest season. As evidenced by the numerous travelogs, Cupping is a method of tasting coffee by steeping grounds in separate cups for discrete amounts of ground coffee, to reveal good flavors and defects to their fullest…. …more updates and videos, we travel every harvest to Ethiopia, usually at least a couple trips in fact. While our first trip will be filled with farm visits and a crop survey from regions we like, the second trek will have more focus on tasting, honing in on the coffees we will offer, and making arrangements with exporters.
The challenges in Ethiopia can be huge. It’s a lot of work to produce nice coffee, to harvest it well, process is right in the The wet mill is a processing center where coffee cherry from the tree is brought for initial processing.: The wet mill goes by many names (Beneficio, Factory, Washing… …more, dry it correctly, and have it milled to the right standard. But getting it through the regulatory and export system, the Letter of Credit and other regulations (which seem to change far too often) is daunting. We don’t do that ourselves, but find reliable partners who know how the system works.
Even then, a shift in policy, issues with transportation from the mill to Djibouti port for export, or any other number of things can go wrong. It is rarely a journey without a setback of some kind. But no matter the risks, our experience is that Ethiopia is worth the highest level of effort, because when everything lines up just right, the coffee can be that good!