Coffee production in Ethiopia is a longstanding tradition which dates back to dozens of centuries. Ethiopia is where Coffea arabica, the coffee plant, originates. The plant is now grown in various parts of the world; Ethiopia itself accounts for around 3% of the global coffee market. Coffee is important to the economy of Ethiopia; around 60% of foreign income comes from coffee, with an estimated 15 million of the population relying on some aspect of coffee production for their livelihood. In 2006, coffee exports brought in $350 million, equivalent to 34% of that year’s total exports. (Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_production_in_Ethiopia)).
The coffee plant, Coffea arabica, originates in Ethiopia. According to legend, the 9th-century goatherder Kaldi discovered the coffee plant after noticing the energizing effect the plant had on his flock, but the story did not appear in writing until 1671, and is probably apocryphal.
The total area used for coee cultivation is estimated to be about 4,000 km (1,500 sq mi), the size is unknown due to the fragmented nature of the coeefarms. The way of production has not changed much, with nearly all work, cultivating and drying, still done by hand. (Wikipedia: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_production_in_Ethiopia))
Ethiopian coffee beans that are grown in either the Harar, Yirgacheffe or Limu regions are kept apart and marketed under their regional name. These regional varieties are trademarked names with the rights owned by Ethiopia.
It is very likely that in and around this region is where coffee had its origins. Sidamo coffee is well-balanced with cupping notes exhibiting berries and citrus with complex acidity. The coffee hails from the province of Sidamo in the Ethiopian highlands at elevations from 1,500 up to 2,200 meters above sea level. At these elevations the coffee beans can be qualified as “Strictly High Grown” (SHG). Here the Ethiopian coffees grow more slowly and therefore have more time to absorb nutrients and develop more robust flavors based on the local climate and soil conditions.
“Ethiopia Genika” is a type of Arabica coffee of single origin grown exclusively in the Bench Maji Zone of Ethiopia. Like most African coffees, Ethiopia Guraferda features a small and greyish bean, yet is valued for its deep, spice and wine or chocolate-like taste and floral aroma. The most distinctive flavour notes found in all Sidamo coffees are lemon and citrus with bright crisp acidity. Sidamo coffee includes Yirgachefe Coffee and Guji Coffee. Both coffee types are very high quality.
Harar is in the Eastern highlands of Ethiopia. It is one of the oldest coffee beans still produced, and is known for its distinctive fruity, wine flavor. The shells of the coffee bean are used in a tea called hasher-qahwa. The bean is medium in size with a greenish-yellowish color. It has medium acidity, full body, and a distinctive mocha flavor. Wikipedia: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_production_in_Ethiopia))
Ethiopian coffee beans of the species Coffea arabica can be divided into three categories: Longberry, Shortberry, and Mocha. Longberry varieties consist of the largest beans and are often considered of the highest quality in both value and flavour. Shortberry varieties are smaller than the Longberry beans, but are considered a high grade bean in Eastern Ethiopia where it originates. Also, the Mocha variety is a highly prized commodity. Mocha Harars are known for their peaberry beans that often have complex chocolate, spice and citrus notes. (Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_production_in_Ethiopia))Drinking Ethiopian coffee, especially in the place of the coffee’s origin, is a cultural experience. The process for making the coffee, known as Bunna, takes over an hour. First the beans are washed in water, and then placed into a skillet over a fire. Once the beans have burst from their skins, they are ground with a metal stick. The grounds are placed into a jebena, an Ethiopian pot, with hot water and served in a mini cup. (Wikipedia: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_production_in_Ethiopia))Ethiopia is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country. Religion is a major influence in Ethiopian life. Nearly half the population belongs to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, but there is a also large Muslim population. Others adhere to an ancient form of Judaism.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is proud of its origins. The country embraced Christianity in the 4th century, long before Europe. The feast of the Epiphany (“Timkat”) is the largest festival of the year. The Orthodox Church dominates the political, cultural, and social life of the population. It was the official religion of the imperial court and of the establishment until Haile Selassie was deposed in 1974. Muslims are important in the business community. They tend to live in the eastern, southern, and western lowlands, although there are considerable numbers in Addis Ababa.
Coffee drinking is cherished as a special and important time to gather and can last up to several hours. Coffee is important to Ethiopia’s economy; around 60% of foreign income is generated from coffee, and an estimated 15 million of the population rely on some aspect of coffee production for their livelihood. (Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_production_in_Ethiopia))