Coffee: Ethiopia

Il caffè in Etiopia: le origini, le zone di coltivazione e la varietà del caffè etiope



A bit of history

We believe so much in Ethiopian coffee that we have built a name for it, Kanuni, because in Swahili, one of the official languages of the African Union, it means "beginning / origin", and it is precisely there that it flourished and was consumed by beings for the first time. humans, initially as a fruit but later as a drink!

Presumably it began to spread in the 1600s from Yemen and then to the Americas.

We arrive in the early 1800s where the production of Ethiopian coffee reached very high export levels, and in 1900 the two most common types of coffee were Harari (Harar area) and Abyssinia (grown in the forests of the rest of the country) ,

From 1950 there was a further development with the increase of the coffee industry in Ethiopia and a new classification system was created, which led in 1957 to the foundation of the "National Coffee Board of Ethiopia".


The cultivation areas

Let's start by saying that Ethiopia is the fifth largest coffee producer in the world and the largest coffee producer in Africa, in addition to the fact that even today the forests remain one of the most important and widespread harvesting areas in Ethiopia.

As for our refined one monorigine Ethiopia Specialty, most of the Ethiopian coffee cultivation takes place in small family farms, without the use of chemicals; an exception is made for those areas of the southwest where we find much larger farms run by the government, with the use of the most common practices, including the use of fertilizers.

We will list not only the types of crops that we can find in Ethiopia at the macro-category level but also and above all the specific cultivation regions of Ethiopia.

If we were to divide the types of Ethiopian coffee according to the production method, as well described on the page of our Ethiopia Specialty compatible capsules, we should identify three:

  • "FOREST COFFEES" (forest coffee):
    • as we have already seen, they are all those plants that we find in the forests, belonging to different varieties and therefore with very different distinctive traits, also depending on how they are processed ... we do not have a very high production but not even negligible !
  • "GARDEN COFFEES" (garden coffee):
    • this typology represents all the crops that take place around small farms or around the houses of these small farmers, and contains most of the production in Ethiopia; it must be said that fertilizers are also sometimes used, therefore not entirely absent in this case as well.
  • "PLANTATION COFFEES" (plantation coffee):
    • in practice, the largest and most intensive coffee plantations belonging to government farms.


 Let's now see the main regions where coffee is grown in Ethiopia, trying to identify specific areas around which our precious Ethiopian coffee is grown:

Harar region

Here the coffee is grown from 1400 to 2000 meters above sea level, with completely natural dry processes.

Thanks to the natural drying process in the sun, the coffee takes on very intense tones, fruity notes, of dark chocolate but often considered vinous, with a fermented aftertaste, but not only. It can certainly be bold, edgy and with hints of spice ... certainly a complex coffee that many experts in the sector or enthusiasts find very interesting.

Ethiopian coffee is classified by its size, and also in this case we have different types of Harar coffee, based precisely on the size of the coffee bean; usually the largest bean is identified by a greater concentration of essential oils and therefore a higher quality coffee is associated, but this is not always the case ... the specialists in the sector, the "cuppers", are still discussing it as the factors that bring a bean and therefore a coffee to have an excellent quality or of a certain type, are multiple and not dependent solely on the size of the bean.


Sidamo region

The coffees grown in this region, at an altitude between 1500 and 2200 meters above sea level, are constantly growing and occupy one of the largest production volumes in Ethiopia.

They are hand-picked and selected coffees and follow a washed (or wet) process that returns a rather interesting complexity in the cup:

a complex acidity, citrus, notes of dark chocolate, floral, with a full body but with an excellent balance in the mouth, soft, sweet.


Let's not forget that Ethiopian coffees are celebrated, precisely because of their importance, in the "coffee ceremony", widespread in almost the entire region, which takes place through a flat iron pan, where the beans are slowly roasted on coal and subsequently cooled in a terracotta plate or on a straw mat, and finally there is the "crushing" of the beans, in practice a manual grinding, the powder of which will be used with a particular terracotta "coffee pot" and boiling water, to which they can be added spices, such as cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.


Yrgacheffe region

Grown at an altitude between 1700 and 2200 meters above sea level, they are a highly sought-after variety for their high quality, so much so that they are considered among the best qualities in the world.

This variety also uses a washed, therefore humid method, which allows to obtain a complexity in the cup characterized by a medium-light body, floral, fruity, spicy tones, with an aftertaste often described as vibrant and with notes of berries and wine. ! Obviously there are also notes of chocolate or a slight nutty hint.

The farms that cultivate this type of coffee are often part of the YCFCU, in practice the union of several cooperatives that include over 40,000 farmers.

It is even said that the Yrgacheffe region is the point of origin of coffee, but there are still many discussions going on about this!


We have seen how many interesting and very complex varieties of coffee can be found in Ethiopia, even of the highest quality; it is for this reason and for the origins of the coffee itself, that we recommend a tasting of ours Specialty Ethiopia in Nespresso * compatible capsules, will certainly give you great satisfaction and desire to try other blends of Kanuni Coffee collection


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