Why Is Ethiopian Coffee So Good

Why Is Ethiopian Coffee So Good

Remarkable scenery, fascinating history, delicate foods! Though, what really makes Ethiopia extra unique? Yes, coffee! Think about that heavy-bodied, winey, and flowery taste and smell. Ask any coffee lovers or experts about their favorite beans. Ethiopian coffee will undoubtedly be on top of their list. Ethiopia sustains the fifth spot as the biggest coffee producer worldwide.

Now that leaves you to a question, what makes this coffee so good? No, it’s not only about the flavor and aroma. The texture, bitterness, and finish all play a vital role too. Ready to explore Ethiopian coffee further? It’s a must-read! 

Why Is Ethiopian Coffee So Good?

Ethiopian Coffee is good for so many reasons.

  • Naturally grown – No fertilizer or non-natural irrigation system
  • Distinct winey and fruity tones with intricate flavor profiles 
  • Bright to high bitterness
  • Full-bodied, giving a strong, pleasing, and tasty mouthfeel
  • Clean tasting, tangy finish

There are two processing methods – natural/dry and washed/wet. Both offer an intensely zesty, deep flavor with a hint of sweet notes like citrus and chocolate.

Different Types of Ethiopian Coffee – What Makes Them So Good?

Each Ethiopian village has semi-wild coffee variation. Hence, you’ll never run out of options of which beans to pick for your next visit. From less acidic to a bit fruity and winery, you will only get high-quality beans. That’s for sure. Here’s to give you an idea of the popular coffee varieties in the region.

1. Yirgacheffe

Spicy and aromatic. This coffee has a small to medium body and is famous for its sweet aroma and taste. Also, it shows a light acidity with complex floral notes and clean, extreme flavor. It is a wet-processed coffee variety. The aftertaste is so distinct. Perhaps a tad of chocolate, fruit, or citrus. However, you can also get bergamot, mint, or any unusual flavors occasionally.

When brewing this coffee, timing is crucial. Otherwise, expect it to become too sour. It is the premier quality Arabica bean globally. So, you’ll find no cheap products. Iced or hot, It is a beautiful addition worth sharing with your friends. Pair it up with fruit salad or fruit-based cakes!

2. Sidamo

Another wet-processed Ethiopian coffee. Sidamo is quite famous for its low acidity (winey), full, tasty mouth feel, and floral fragrant. The flavor? Well, it’s mixed and sweet. You can get strong signs of berries, lemon, and cane sugar. The aftertaste is something you’ll love – smooth and bright. It accompanies fruits to highlight its intricate notes. You can try cake bars or cheesecake.

This region has high elevations. Beans are given adequate time to grow and absorb the earth, sun, and tropical temperature. It is ideal both for French press and espresso. Cappuccino and latte fanatics may get disheartened upon knowing it could not be a perfect match. Blame the use of excess milk.

3. Harrar

You can find Harrar coffee beans in eastern Ethiopia. It derives from wild native trees. The place is known to produce some of the top-quality beans you can see in the market. It is sun-dried – picked and processed manually. Therefore, creating a zesty taste with a hint of apricot and berries. This coffee is generally flavorful and bold.

The aroma is very spicy and fragrant. You cannot use it as a single-origin coffee, which is a bit of a turn off. However, it proves to be a good companion for espresso blends. Some variants showcase dark, bubbly chocolate notes. You have three choices on how you want it to satisfy your appetite: pea berry, long berry, or short berry.

4. Gimbi

Gimbi coffee is usually used in blends. What makes it a well-known variety is its bright acidity, heavy body, and sweet flavor. Sometimes, it gives a slightly fermented fruity finish. Whether hot or iced, enjoy taking a sip of it. You can even pair the coffee with a wide variety of foods for extra enjoyment. Why not try pies and fruitcakes?

5. Limu

Delicate, aromatic, and sweet. That’s what best describes Ethiopian Limu coffee beans. Your first sip will include soft florals with a lemon toffy acidity. As the blend dampens down, it grows syrupy with a small amount of melon and apricot. The aftertaste emits smooth milk chocolate. However, you can also obtain a caramel finish. In short, it’s a drinkable beverage to kick up your day.

It has more consistent beans compared to some coffee varieties in Ethiopia. Renowned as one of the best highland grew coffees in the country. The beans are medium-sized with green color and a unique round shape. It is generally made through the washed process. Prepare with any brewing methods and use them as a blend enhancer. You can also add some milk or others to make some punch.

6. Jimma

Nothing is better than Ethiopian Jimma coffee if you value pure, intricate, and lavish yet musky coffee. It undergoes a thoroughly washed process. While the blend is strong, you can also expect full-bodied, sweet, and clean flavor. It boasts fruity hints, including peach pastry and apple.

The area is quite famous for being one of the largest manufacturers of commercial-grade beans. Regardless, it’s less popular because of medicinal taste.

Each coffee variety has its benefits and drawbacks. They have a common denominator, though. Besides, the beans are produced at higher altitudes. That equates to better quality harvests. The height ranges from 1400 to 2800m in all Ethiopian farms. Coffees developed in this altitude can yield distinct flavors. The temperature lies within 14° C to 22° C all over the year. The growth of coffee plants is long-drawn-out, but not the beans.

Different Brewing Methods That Make Ethiopian Coffee So Good

The brewing method also defines a good cup of coffee. Fortunately for Ethiopian coffee, any brewing method works without compromising its quality.

  • Pour Over: This is easy to learn and master. That’s because brewing it as a pour-over coffee offers added control. The result is a perfect flavor you wouldn’t dare to omit. If you prefer washed beans, a thick paper filter produces a tea-like figure, light, and clean flavor profile. While for natural coffee, try using a thinner paper. It displays acidic, bright fruit notes with a sugary body.
  • Automatic Drip: If the coffee is ground raw and roasted, expect to yield a great cup. The paper filter gives tons of flavors and clarity. You have an ideal amount of body and acidity.
  • Cold Brew: The coffee’s bloomy and rich notes make it an energizing, delightful iced coffee. Be sure to grind the beans roughly. It will prevent the acidity from being over-extracted.

Cultural Touch Makes Ethiopian Coffee So Good!

Most importantly, it is the Ethiopian coffee tradition that makes the beans highly unique and useful. They perform a systematic ceremony called jebena buna in Amharic, with the participation of the whole family. It can take up to three hours and usually executes three times per day. Visitors and relatives join the function as a symbol of hospitality, esteem, and friendship.

One part of the ceremony is transforming unwashed, fresh beans into fragrant-smelling, and deftly-flavored cups. It accompanies food items, including cakes and fruit. People mostly serve coffee with lots of sugar. Besides, they also add salt, butter, and honey into it. But even in festivals and day-to-day existences, Ethiopians consider coffee a rare value.

Is Ethiopian Coffee Arabica or Robusta?

The coffee beans sourced in Ethiopia are generally Arabica. That’s why they produce acidic, brighter, tangier, and more florid aroma and sip. It is where the coffee plant stems from – somewhere in the southwest highlands. The original coffee tree is continuously exported and uprooted across the globe.

What Is the Best Coffee From Ethiopia?

Yirgacheffe coffee is usually the most sought-after due to its fragrance and syrupiness. It also has a light to medium body. The elevation for cultivating it ranges between 1,700 and 2,200 meters above sea level. However, note that there’s no such thing as ‘best’ or ‘perfect.’ It still depends on what your palate loves.

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