Ethiopia ranks fifth in the world when it comes to the largest coffee-producing countries. The people of Ethiopia who work in the industry have mastered the art of not only growing and harvesting premium coffee beans but processing them as well. There are many different types of Ethiopian coffee and all of them are delicious. The county is famous for its coffee beans and this article will explain all the delectable details of this amazing coffee.
What is Ethiopian Coffee?
Ethiopia is actually the birthplace of coffee, and the country produces an array of different types, between six and ten thousand coffee varieties to be exact. Ethiopian coffee is considered to be the most delicious in the world. Read on to find out what makes this coffee so divine for coffee lovers all over the world.
During the 15th century, Ethiopia began exporting coffee. Somali merchants brought the coffee to places like Yemen where the Sufi Mystics consumed it to help them concentrate better on their very important chants. In the 17th century, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church banned coffee completely. In the late 19th century when Emperor Menelik II took over, he removed the ban since he is a coffee lover himself. It was after the lifting of the ban on coffee that the Ethiopian coffee production and the sales of it to other places throughout the world began to rise. In today’s world, about 70 percent of the country’s export income is derived from the production of coffee and about 15 million Ethiopians grow coffee to make their livings.
Although there are a few government-owned places where coffee is grown and produced in Ethiopia, most of it is done by smaller-scale farmers who grow what is referred to as garden coffee on smaller plots of land. Another 20 percent of the coffee in Ethiopia grows wild in actual coffee forests. One of the most famous of these forests is the Gesha Forest which is where the original Gesha coffee plants came from. Not only is Ethiopia the number one country in Africa as a coffee producer, the people of Ethiopia are also in the category of the top consumers of coffee, with about 1.8 million bags of coffee being consumed every year.
What is Unique About these Beans?
The key reason Ethiopian coffee is so popular and delicious is the very slow process in which the coffee beans are grown and produced. This allows the coffee plants to absorb many wonderful nutrients from the soil while embracing a variety of flavors from the areas in which the coffee plants are grown.
Ethiopia produces a variety of different coffee types and since many are not yet classified, they are simply labeled as Ethiopian heirloom coffee. This name is used as an all-encompassing one that all Ethiopian coffee types can fall under. Some specialty coffee buyers will designate the coffees by the region of Ethiopia in which they were grown, the altitude of the location, and the coffee’s cupping score instead of by each variety.
The coffee there is ground more than any other type in Ethiopia is Arabic coffee, or Coffea arabica, which is a mild very aromatic coffee that accounts for about 70 percent of the entire coffee production in the world. This type of coffee originated in Ethiopia and is widely believed to be the first type of coffee to ever have been cultivated. More than 90 percent of the genetic material in Arabic coffee is found in Ethiopia which means it is more disease-resistant than coffee grown in other countries and combats leaf rust much easier. One of the unique properties of Ethiopian coffee is that it is recognized for its light to medium body, lower acidity, and it boasts a very fruity or floral flavor. These flavors can be traced back to the area of Ethiopia in which they were grown and processed.
Ethiopia boasts the best climate for growing coffee plants since it is situated near the equator with mild temperatures throughout the year and an adequate amount of rain. Lush vegetation is plentiful throughout the country with plenty of trees for shade. The best part is that there is rarely a need to chemicals to be used on the coffee plants which allow for not only better flavors and aroma from the finished coffee product, but also the coffee beans are healthier for people to consume. On the downside, climate change affects the entire world, including Ethiopia, which has experienced more unpredictable weather and hotter temperatures than normal as well as longer drought periods due to decreased rainfall.
Why Do So Many People Love Ethiopian Coffee?
When it comes to Ethiopian coffee, so many people love the flavor due to many things that happen during the processing of the coffee beans versus coffee beans that come from other places. For instance, one of the ways Ethiopian coffee is processed is through a sun-dried, natural process that allows the coffee fruit to stay on the plant while it is being dried out. This promotes more of the flavor to seep through to the coffee beans, such as a fruity flavor with a hint of chocolate or sweet berries, including blueberries which many coffee lovers seemed to enjoy the most.
Another process used in Ethiopia is called the washed or wet process in which actual coffee mills remove the fruit from the bean within a day after being harvested then wash the coffee beans which are then characterized by coffee drinkers as having an herbal, citrus, or floral flavor to the finished product. The coffee that is processed through this method ends up being a little drier and not too strong which allows for less acidity.
While most of the coffee in Ethiopia is grown in the southern regions in mountainous areas with volcanic soils that are very fertile, there are other regions that produce amazing coffee as well. One of those regions is the Sidamo or Sidama region which boasts fertile highlands that are located south of Lake Awassa in the Great Rift Valley. This area is about 6,000 feet above sea level and offers plenty of rainfall along with perfect temperatures for growing coffee. Sidamo is one of the three coffee regions that are trademarked in Ethiopia, and it is the coffee that is featured by Twiga Coffee since it is an authentic and delicious coffee that is healthy as well as delicious.