A journey to Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee

Eric Duchossoy, our roaster with an indefatigable talent for discovering the finest coffees, has returned from a two week trip to the birthplace of coffee: Ethiopia.

When you land in Addis Ababa, 2300m above sea level, you would never guess that Ethiopia is the greenest country in Africa. But as soon as you leave the capital, you discover fertile valleys and mountains with a gentle climate, the perfect environment for coffee tree cultivation.

Coffee production is one of the country’s most important resources. Cultivation spreads over 400 000 hectares and approximately 230 000 tons of coffee are produced each year, more than half of which is consumed locally, rare for an African country.

Always on the lookout for new producers, Eric visited regions reputed for their exceptional Arabicas.

First stop, Sidamo and Yirgacheffe, where plentiful water allows the coffee beans to be washed. The coffee produced here has a delicate aroma and a strong flavour with a subtle acidic taste.

Then on to the mountains surrounding Harrar, the charming city where Arthur Rimbaud lived for many years. Harrar coffee is considered the best sun dried coffee in the world with its typical mild acidity, leather and spicy notes as well as a slightly cherry fermented aftertaste.

Ethiopian coffee culture uses traditional methods, and the « coffee gardens » are often small family owned plots. The local population participates hands on: the women harvest, sort the fruit and supervise the drying process on clay mats.

In their traditional brightly coloured dresses, they also organise the renowned coffee ceremony called « jebena buna », a ritual not to be missed! After roasting the beans on clay mats and then hand grinding them with a pestle, the coffee grounds are poured into a « jebena », a thick clay pot with a long pouring spout. Water is added and the mixture is boiled.

To show your appreciation and thanks, « Galatoma »!

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