Coffee production in Ethiopia - A brief overview
Coffee production in Ethiopia is a long standing tradition. Ethiopia is where coffee arabica, the coffee plant, originates.The plant is now grown in various parts of the world; Ethiopia itself accounts for around 3% of the global coffee market. Coffee is important to the economy of Ethiopia; around 60% of foreign income comes from coffee, with an estimated 15 million of the population relying on some aspect of coffee production for their livelihood In 2006, coffee exports brought in $350 million, equivalent to 34% of that year's total exports.
Ethiopian coffee beans that are grown in either the Harar, Sidamo, Yirgacheffe or Limu regions are kept apart and marketed under their regional name.These regional varieties are trademarked names with the rights owned by Ethiopia.
"Ethiopia Sidamo" is a type of Arabica coffee of single origin grown exclusively in the Sidamo Province of Ethiopia Like most African coffees, Ethiopia Sidamo features a small and greyish bean, yet is valued for its deep, spice and wine or chocolate-like taste and floral aroma. The most distinctive flavour notes found in all Sidamo coffees are lemon and citrus with bright crisp acidity. Sidamo coffee includes Yirgachefe Coffee and Guji Coffee. Both coffee types are very high quality.
Harar is in the Eastern highlands of Ethiopia. It is one of the oldest coffee beans still produced and is known for its distinctive fruity, wine flavour. The bean is medium in size with a greenish-yellowish colour. It has medium acidity and full body and a distinctive mocha flavour. Harare is a dry processed coffee bean with sorting and processing done almost entirely by hand. Though processing is done by hand, the laborers are extremely knowledgeable of how each bean is categorized.
Ethiopian coffee beans of the species Coffee arabica can be divided into three categories: Longberry, Shortberry, and Mocha. Longberry varieties consist of the largest beans and are often considered of the highest quality in both value and flavour. In some cases this is true but more often than not it is just a marketing pitch. Shortberry varieties are smaller than the Longberry beans but, are considered a high grade bean in Eastern Ethiopia where it originates. Also the Mocha variety is a highly prized commodity. Mocha Harars are known for their peaberry beans that often have complex chocolate, spice and citrus notes.