Coffee has been a popular drink all throughout the world. Preparing coffee is considered art, as well as the distinct characteristic of the coffee bean’s origin. Countries that are known for coffee farming made coffee production a part of their culture and traditions while contributing to economic growth. In this case, the African region may consider that the best Ethiopian coffee beans make the best coffee in the world.
Best Ethiopian Coffee Beans: The Beginning
If you are not familiar with the history of coffee in general, you will not know the contribution of the country of Ethiopia. The truth is, no one really knows the exact date and origin but most sources would tell that the history of coffee began in the 850 CE (Common Era, also known as the solar dating system Gregorian Calendar that is used by most of the world today). Some scholars believe that coffee originated in the Kingdom of Sheba which is in Ethiopia and Yemen.
On the other hand, the most widely believed and accepted history of coffee is its accidental discovery of an Ethiopian farmer. The said farmer saw his goats eating the coffee beans (from the coffee plant ‘Coffea arabica’) and witnessed how it became more energized. He also tried the beans and saw the effect on his body, that he even shared it with the monks to keep them awake during their prayers.
History of Ethiopian Coffee Beans
Based on the history stated above, it did not become immediately as the coffee we knew today. The best Ethiopian coffee beans had its own history on how it was processed. Since the uncertainty of the previously stated history of coffee, the earliest evidence that has credible sources or proof appeared in the late 15th century. A Sufi Imam and trader named Muhammad Ibn Said Al Dhabhani have imported coffee cherries from Ethiopia to Yemen. Historians also believed another story, where the Somali merchants have been exported by Ethiopia to Yemen.
The historic book about the ‘Precis of Papers Regarding Aden’ written from 1838 to 1872 states that Yemen’s seaport Berbera has a considerable export of coffee. The Sufis in Yemen used coffee beans as a drink to keep them awake and concentrated while performing a form of prayer and for nighttime devotions.
Ethiopian Coffee production
Coffee production is very important in the economy of Ethiopia, where 15 million of the residents depend on coffee production to earn a living. The best Ethiopian coffee beans may not have a huge percentage in the global coffee market, but coffee lovers consider it as one of the best single-origin coffee in the world.
The coffee plant coming from this country are now grown in different countries, but the geographic location of the different regions of Ethiopia plays a role in the taste and aroma of the coffee.
Where To Find The Best Ethiopian Coffee Beans
As a single-origin kind with premium quality, the best Ethiopian coffee beans are considered to be one of the greatest varieties in the world. Ethiopian coffees are noted for their complexity, which includes a musky, winey consistency as well as a distinct wildness of acidity. Here are some regional variety of the coffee beans in Ethiopia:
• Sidamo – Named after the southern border of the province, the Ethiopian Sidamo coffee beans are regarded to be the origin of coffee. The area is believed to be the place where the local legend about the farmer’s accidental discovery of coffee happened. The land’s elevation from between 1500 to 2150 meters above sea level played a role in the quality of this coffee variety. The slow growth due to the elevation lets the beans absorb more nutrients from the soil. It results in a coffee that is well-balanced and complex acidity, with floral, berry, and lemony notes.
• Genika – Located on the west of South Sudan, Ethiopia Genika coffee beans are grown from the Bench Maji Zone of the country. The coffee beans picked from this region have a medium body with medium acidity, exhibiting the same floral aroma as the Sidamo variety. It is also known to have wine or chocolate-like taste.
• Harrar – This variety is from the eastern region of Ethiopia and usually handpicked by locals in the area. The coffee from this region has a full body with dry fruitiness combined with a floral taste. It is known for its dry processing, where the coffee fruit is sun-dried after being harvested from the coffee trees. The beans are peeled off once it has dried. The shells of the Harar coffee beans can be used to make their traditional tea called ‘Hasher-qahwa.’ It is done by boiling it with milk.
• Ghimbi – It is a washed coffee variety that the beans are grown in the southern part of Ethiopia. Coffee from the Ghimbi coffee beans has a more balanced and heavy body. It has a rich and sharp acidity with a floral and fruity note.
• Yirgacheffe – Opposite of the Harrar variety, this coffee variant undergoes wet processing where the beans are immediately soaked after picking them. Due to the high elevation above sea level, the environment helps to develop a coffee flavor that has an intense and clean taste. More premium quality of this variant may have a slightly chocolatey taste with citrus tones.
There are more variety of coffee beans in Ethiopia, but these four are the most known varieties in the world. Due to their popularity, some varieties are marketed under their name of the originating region and trademarked by the country.
What are the Best Ethiopian Coffee Beans?
Some may say that it is the Sidamo variety, while other claim that it is the Yirgacheffe. Honestly, determining the best one will depend on the person drinking it. The tasting notes including the aftertaste will depend on the person’s preference for coffee. However, coffee enthusiasts may agree that the best coffee-producing country could be Ethiopia.
I hope that you enjoyed this article about ethiopian coffee beans. Do you like ethiopian coffee? We will be glad to hear from you 🙂