All About Coffee from Ethiopia
What is the history of coffee in Ethiopia?
Ethiopia is considered a legendary coffee-producing country because it's the birthplace of Arabica coffee and has a unique coffee culture. Coffee is a way of life in Ethiopia and has been part of the everyday culture for centuries, with the trees being discovered growing wild in forests and eventually cultivated for household use and commercial sale. The genetic diversity of Ethiopian coffee is unmatched globally, with 99% more genetic material in Ethiopia alone than in the rest of the world. This makes Ethiopian coffee highly sought after by coffee lovers.
Coffee is widely consumed in Ethiopia, with about half of the country's annual production of 6.5 million bags being consumed domestically and the rest being exported. Coffee is commonly enjoyed in a ceremonial preparation and is considered a regular show of hospitality and society.
The majority of Ethiopia's farmers are small-scale farmers and sustenance farmers, with an average of less than 1 hectare of land each. While there are some large estates and co-operative societies, the average producer grows relatively little for commercial sale. The coffee is often grown in a garden or forest environment rather than large fields of farmland.
How is coffee typically processed in Ethiopia?
In Ethiopia, coffee is prepared for market in several ways. Privately owned large estates are operated by hired labor and the coffee is processed from picking to milling on the property. On the other hand, small-scale farmers who grow "garden coffee" bring their cherries to the closest washing station, where it is sold, blended with other farmers' lots and processed according to the station's preferences. Co-operative members, on the other hand, bring their cherries to a co-op washing station where they are weighed and recorded on the co-op's membership roster, providing traceability to the producer level.
What coffee processing methods do they use in Ethiopia?
In Ethiopia, the most prevalent post-harvest processing methods utilized are washed and natural.
What are the common coffee varietals in Ethiopia?
Ethiopian coffee varieties with historical significance include Kudhome, Gesha, Djimma, and others.
How is coffee in Ethiopia graded?
Ethiopia has a unique grading system for coffee, with grades ranging from 1 to 9, where grades 1 and 2 are considered specialty and grades 3 to 9 are considered commercial.
Where are the most common coffee growing regions in Ethiopia?
The coffee-growing regions in Ethiopia include Sidama (including Yirgacheffe), Harrar, Limu, Djimma, Lekempti, Wallega, and Gimbi.
When does the coffee harvest begin in Ethiopia?
The coffee harvest period in Ethiopia takes place from October to January.