It is said that the first humans originated from the region of Ethiopia. If so, one must wonder just how long the coffee bean has actually been in existence, because it is said to have originated from there too. It may seem like worlds away, but every time you make yourself a cup of espresso, you are quite likely experiencing the flavour of coffee from Ethiopia, which grows 70 to 80% of the world’s coffee beans.
Most of you would have surely heard the term or familiarized yourselves with the word ‘Arabica’ by now. Coffee Arabica is the only variety of coffee grown in Kaffa and Sidamo, Ethiopia’s major coffee-growing regions. Coffee began flowing from Ethiopia in the 16th century. To date it is still the largest grower of the Arabica coffee craved by most people in the world. Now a household name serving as an essential component of many kitchens throughout the world, coffee was named after the Kaffa region of Ethiopia, which produces the best Arabica beans in the world. Ethiopian coffee Arabica gives a full bodied and smooth flavour; it is rich yet not too overbearing and lacks the bitterness coffees grown in other parts of the world nations.
The three main coffee-growing regions of Ethiopia are Harrar, Ghimbi, and Sidamo. Each region boasts its own unique flavours and blends.
The Harrar region is known for its dry processed varieties, one of the more well-known ones being the Longberry. It is famous for its hints of berry spices and wine-like fruitiness. It is the aroma of Ethiopian coffee from Harrar, which provides the aroma found in most espresso blends.
The Ghimbi and Sidamo regions are mainly renowned for their production of washed coffees. While Ghimbi coffee is well proportioned and palatable, yet with a heavier flavour than coffee from the Harrar region, the Sidamo coffees are quite noticeably lighter and milder, with a smoother, more pleasant aroma. Ethiopian coffee is never high roasted, no matter which region they are grown in. Ethiopians feel that to do so would harm the rich character and body of the beverage.
Ethiopia has been serving up the world’s finest quality coffee brews for centuries. Next time you feel that you couldn’t possibly face the world without a cup of coffee, consider what faraway regions it originated in. We certainly do owe a lot to Ethiopia and its consistency in producing coffee beans that everyone can wake up to.