What sort of coffee does Ethiopia produce?
When it comes to coffee production, Ethiopia is the 7th largest producer in the world. This stems from the fact that Ethiopia is Africa’s largest coffee producer. As a matter of fact, 60% of foreign exchange income in Ethiopia comes from coffee. This begs the question, what sort of coffee does Ethiopia produce? We’ll get to that in just a while. First, let’s learn a few things about Ethiopia.
Why Ethiopian coffee
Ethiopia is considered the birthplace of coffee. It has some of the most diversified coffee types with locals consuming over half of the coffee produced.
Coffee is said to have originated from the Sidama valley. Due to the high elevation of this region, coffee trees grow slowly. In high altitudes, there is a moderate amount of rainfall and plenty of sunshine. Also, there is no frost due to the temperature being 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit on average during the year.
The lower temperatures combined with good soil drainage lead to the production of a coffee bean that is sweet and has exotic flavours. All these factors combine to make Ethiopian coffee one of the most sort after coffee globally.
Types of coffee grown in Ethiopia
Arabica is the most produced Coffee species in the world. It is widely preferred due to its sweetness as compared to Robusta coffee. The sweet undertones stem from the fact that Arabica has approximately 1.5% caffeine as compared to the 2.7% of Robusta coffee.
In Ethiopia, a coffee name come from the respective regional name. There are three notable regions where Arabica coffee is grown. They are;
The Harar coffee trees are usually grown in small farms in Eastern Ethiopia. After harvesting, they are dry-processed and then divided into three categories; Longberry, Shortberry and Mocha. Harar coffee has a strong aroma and a fruity taste.
Grown in Southern Ethiopia, the Yirgacheffe bean is a favourite for many farmers. It has a mild fruity taste and a strong aroma. It is sometimes labelled as Sidamo because it’s grown in the Sidamo district. Coffee from this area is noted for its complex acidity and flavour. Also, due to the high altitude growth, the coffee qualifies as Strictly High Grown (SHG). Remember, High altitude = excellent quality.
The Limu type of coffee is grown in a town called Limmu in the Southern part of Ethiopia. Described as having a spicy aroma, Limu is one of the most sort after gourmet coffees in the world.
The Robusta type of coffee is the second most-produced coffee species in the world. However, in Ethiopia, it is not grown by most farmers. It still grows wild in the forests and is harvested for local consumption or sale.
Robusta is easier to grow and is more resistant to diseases. Its high caffeine level is poisonous to pests.
Note that while there are other lesser-known types of Robusta coffee, the following are the major ones grown in Ethiopia.
Grown in the Kaffa region of Ethiopia, Djimmah is a typical type of Robusta coffee. Djimmah is mostly grown in thick forest areas. It is hardy and resistant to diseases. This hardiness has led to it adapting to various environmental conditions.
Lekempti is grown in high altitudes on the western side of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. It is known for its exotic taste different from the fruity flavours of Ethiopian coffee.
Ethiopian coffee is world-renowned. As you have read, the region (where the coffee grows) makes the coffee have a distinctive taste. However, the general rule of thumb in the coffee business is; High Altitude = High Quality.
In summary, you have learned that;
⦁ There are two major types of coffee grown in Ethiopia; Arabica and Robusta coffee.
⦁ The majority of coffee grown in Ethiopia is Arabica.
⦁ The various types of Arabica grown are;
⦁ Yirgacheffe (Sidamo)
⦁ The kinds of Robusta grown are;
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