Origin — Exploring the Richness of Ethiopian Coffee – Old Spike
Woman gathering around a coffee processing station in Ethiopia

Origin — Exploring the Richness of Ethiopian Coffee

Discover Ethiopian Specialty Coffee  

Welcome to the birthplace of coffee! Ethiopia, with its majestic landscapes and vibrant coffee culture, is a treasure trove for specialty coffee enthusiasts. From the highlands where coffee cherries thrive to the bustling coffee houses in cities, this guide will take you on a journey through the history, variety, processes, and culture of Ethiopian coffee. dive in and experience the flavours that have captivated coffee lovers for centuries.

The History of Specialty Coffee in Ethiopia

Step back in time and discover the origins of specialty coffee. Legend has it that a goat herder named Kaldi discovered coffee's invigorating properties when his flock became energised after nibbling on coffee cherries. This magical encounter sparked the beginning of Ethiopia's rich coffee heritage. As early as the 9th century, Ethiopian monks were brewing coffee, infusing it into their spiritual practices. Today, Ethiopia proudly boasts the title of being the world's sixth-largest coffee producer. 

Ripe specialty coffee cherries on a coffee tree

The Colourful Varieties of Coffee Grown in Ethiopia 

Ethiopia boasts some of the most unique and diverse coffee varieties grown across the world. The country is home to an astonishing array of coffee cultivars, each offering its unique flavours and characteristics. Some renowned Ethiopian coffee varieties include: 

  • Yirgacheffe: Characterised for its delicate floral and fruity notes, Yirgacheffe coffee is often considered one of the best in the world.

  • Sidamo: Grown in the southern region of Ethiopia, Sidamo coffee captivates with its wine-like acidity and full-bodied berry undertones.

  • Harrar: With its distinctively bold and spicy flavour profile, Harrar coffee from the eastern highlands offers a truly memorable experience.

A landscape photos of coffee farm with colourful coffee drying beds

Popular Coffee Processing Methods in Ethiopia

Ethiopia's coffee processing methods contribute significantly to the flavours and aromas you find in the cup.

  • Natural Process: In this traditional method, coffee cherries are carefully spread out to dry in the sun, allowing the fruit's sugars to infuse the beans. The result tends towards a sweet, fruit-forward coffee with a full-bodied profile.

  • Washed Process: With a focus on cleanliness and precision, this method involves removing the coffee cherries' skin and pulp before fermenting the beans. It produces vibrant, clean flavours and emphasises acidity.

  • Honey Process: A newer technique in relative terms, the honey process involves selectively removing the cherry's skin and pulp, allowing some of the fruit's sweetness to be absorbed by the beans. This method strikes a balance between natural and washed processes, creating complex and syrupy flavours. 

Traditional method of brewing Ethiopian coffee

Coffee Culture in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has a rich and vibrant coffee culture that permeates the country and engulfs all that desire to dive into it. Here are some things you may experience:

  • Coffee Ceremonies: Ethiopian coffee ceremonies are a cultural cornerstone, where friends and family gather to bond over freshly pan-roasted and traditionally brewed coffee. This immersive experience showcases the importance of community and hospitality.

  • Traditional Coffee Pots: Known as jebena, the traditional clay coffee pots used in Ethiopian households add an authentic touch to the brewing process. The pots' unique shapes and designs reflect the region's rich heritage; complete with a spherical base, elongated neck and long pouring spout.

  • Coffee Houses: In cities like Addis Ababa, coffee houses (buna bet) are abundant, offering a vibrant and social environment to enjoy a cup of Ethiopian coffee. These bustling establishments provide an opportunity to engage with locals and learn more about the country's coffee culture. And of course enjoy world class coffee.


Ethiopian Coffees from Old Spike

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