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Ethiopian Coffee

Do you know where the word ‘coffee’ comes from? It is from ‘Kaffa’, a coffee growing region in Ethiopia. This makes Ethiopia the birth place of coffee. It is the home land of “Arabica coffee” that grows wild in the forests of Kaffa, Illubabor and Gamogofa. Coffee drinking is an important social and cultural tradition in Ethiopia, and is practiced with ritualized and elaborate ceremonies. But it was not always so. Hundred years ago, most Ethiopians had never drunk coffee. Along with tobacco, the brew was considered evil by the Christian Orthodox church, and church members were banned from drinking it on pain of ex-communication.

Ethiopia engages in an elaborate coffee ‘’ceremony’’ at important occasions. Ethiopia is the oldest exporter of coffee in the world. Domestic consumption was estimated 100,000 tons annually. Ethiopia is a nation of true coffee drinkers who produces some of the world’s finest original coffees such as Yirgacheffe, Limu and Harar. More than 4,500 different Ethiopian coffee species are preserved in a coffee field Gene Bank in the Kaffa region which is a good indication of the rich diversity of the Ethiopian coffee population. Just briefly, that our landscape resources are giving birth and offering different but unique flavored coffees. We are the unique and the proud possessor of distinct coffee flavors who have wider choices to offer consumers worldwide.

In the southwest highlands of Ethiopia, the forest coffee ecosystems of Kaffa, Sheka, Gera, Limu and Yayu are regarded as home of Arabica coffee. These forest ecosystems also housed variety of medicinal plants, wild animals and endemic species. Coffee is cultivated in the forest as member of the shrub community in harmony with wild animals. Yet flavor appellations are not so well known, but are nonetheless worthy.

The western highlands of Ethiopia are reservoir of new coffee varieties, which are resistances to coffee berry disease or leaf rust. We are already gifted with two worldwide known coffee types, Limu and Jimma. Other flavors and aromas known by our domestic consumers are coming soon to coffee consumers all over the world.

It grows at elevation of 1400 to 2000 meters above sea level. A wet processed coffee deeply dimensioned nut-toned aroma; well balanced of good acidity and body; good fine quality, winey spicy flavor is the attraction in this coffee. Average annual production is 29,000 ton (0.48 million bags-60kg) from an estimated area of 49,000 hectare.

It grows at elevation of 1400 to 1800 meters above sea level. A natural or sun dried coffee, fair light medium acidity, good heavy body fair average quality; hard balanced cup flavor. The tastes that have a hint of nut-toned aroma and pleasant remain after taste is the characteristics of attraction in this coffee. Average annual production is 70,000 ton (1.17 million bags-60kg) from an estimated area of 127,000 hectare.

In the extreme west highlands, coffee is cultivated on mountainsides, and gives birth to impeccable high quality of good acidity, medium body and pleasant fruity flavor, good quality cup of Nekempt (Ghimbi) coffee that grows at an elevation of 1500 to 2300 meters above sea level. A gourmet grade coffee that brings strength laced with flavor. Average annual production is 34,000 ton (0.57 million bags-60kg) from an estimated area of 56,000 hectare.

The high forests located in southwest are the age-old refuge for many rare plant, wild coffees and animal species. In these cloud forests, two distinct estate coffees - Tepi and Bebeka- are produced.

It grows at an elevation of 1200 to 1800 meters above sea level. A coffee bathed by spring water and nursed with care has hard rather ordinary less to good acid flavors. Actually smooth after taste is the attraction of this coffee. Average annual production is 6,000 ton (0.10 million bags-60kg) from a total area of 7,000 hectare.

It grows at an elevation of 900 to 1500 meters above sea level. A coffee bathed by spring water and nursed with care has good body, less acid and smooth after taste is its attractions. Average annual production is 6,000 ton (0.07 million bags-60kg) from a total area of 6,000 hectare.

The spectacular mountain shoulders of the Great Rift Valley, in the southern Ethiopia gives birth for two distinct flavored coffees- Yirgachefe and Sidamo.

It grows at an elevation of 1500-2200 meters above sea level. A coffee bathed by clean stream water and nursed with care by people and basking in clear sunshine. The unique flavor medium to pointed body, well balanced cup of Mocha. Flowers and spices in the aroma that carried into the cup with charm, depth and vivacity powered Yirgachefe to attract market. Average annual production is 28,000 ton (0.47 million bags- 60kg) from an estimated area of 42,000 hectare.

It grows at an elevation of 1400 to 2200 meters above sea level on the slopes of the mountain shoulders of the Rift Valley. Natural (Sun-dried) and Washed Coffee that has its distinct inherent qualities of balanced acidity and body of good quality is the uniqueness of Sidamo coffee. Average annual production is 37,000 ton (0.62 million bags-60kg) from an estimated area of 61,000 hectare.

The Chercher Highland mountains of eastern Ethiopia which sky-up to 2700 meters above sea level from the low laying plains of Darolebu at about 900 meters above sea level. Indeed they are the age-old refuge for the unique long Berry, medium acidity full body, round cup typical Mocha flavored of good quality cup coffees. The world leading premium coffee- that is Harar Coffee; A hearty but exotic coffee, with smoky, resin tones turns the Harar fruit richly winy to leave you with a taste of real mocha. Average annual production is 26,000 ton (0.43 million bags- 60kg) from an estimated area of 52,000 hectare.

You do not have to be a ‘coffee expert’ to distinguish the unique flavors of Ethiopian coffee. We offer you green coffee lists, the specific name of growing region, where the coffee is cultivated, and its grade that makes you a witness for the uniqueness of our coffee flavors and aroma.

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  1. Facts about Ethiopia