Our Medium Roast comes from Ethiopia, East Africa in the geographic Yirgacheffe region and this bean is considered to be one of the world’s finest gourmet coffees.
The profile of Ethiopian coffees will vary based on a number of factors, including variety, process, and micro region. As a general rule of thumb, natural processed coffees will have much more pronounced fruit and deep chocolate tones, often with a bit of a winey characteristic and a syrupy body. Washed coffees will be lighter and have more pronounced acidity, though the individual characteristics will vary.
Harrar coffees are almost always processed naturally, or “dry,” and have a distinctly chocolate, nutty profile that reflects the somewhat more arid climate the coffee grows in.
Sidama is a large coffee-growing region in the south, and includes Guji and the famous Yirgacheffe.
Among coffee-producing countries, Ethiopia holds near-legendary status not only because it’s the “birthplace” of Arabica coffee, but also because it is simply unlike every other place in the coffee world. Unlike the vast majority of coffee-growing countries, the plant was not introduced as a cash crop through colonization. Instead, growing, processing, and drinking coffee is part of the everyday way of life, and has been for centuries, since the trees were discovered growing wild in forests and eventually cultivated for household use and commercial sale.
From an outsider’s perspective, this adds to the great complexity that makes Ethiopian coffee so hard to fully comprehend culturally, politically, and economically as well as simply culinarily. Add to that the fact that the genetic diversity of the coffee here is unmatched globally – there is 99% more genetic material in Ethiopia’s coffee alone than in the entire rest of the world – and the result is a coffee lover’s dream: There are no coffees that are spoken of with the reverence or romance that Ethiopian coffees are.
One of the other unique aspects of Ethiopia’s coffee production is that domestic consumption is very high, because the beverage has such a significant role in the daily lives of Ethiopians, about half of the country’s 6.5-million-bag annual production is consumed at home, with roughly only 3.5 million bags exported.
Coffee is still commonly enjoyed as part of a “ceremonial” preparation, a way of gathering family, friends, and associates around a table for conversation and community.