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See Our Current Ethiopian Coffees Below

Ethiopian Coffee History

According to Ethiopian legend, coffee was discovered by Kaldi, an Abyssinian goat herder in 850 AD.  The story goes that Kaldi discovered coffee after observing the energy boost his goats gained from consuming mysterious berries, which we now know to be coffee beans.  After sampling them himself, Kaldi gathered up the berries and brought them to his village's head monk who claimed they were “the devils work” and threw them into the fire.  The roasting coffee beans filled the monastery with a powerful aroma and the head monk ordered the other monks to rake the coffee beans out of the fire and place them in hot water for consumption.

While this is a fun story, there is little evidence that this is how the Ethiopians discovered coffee. In fact, the first iteration of this tale does not appear until the 1400s.  There is also evidence that it was customary to chew on coffee beans in Ethiopia prior to brewing coffee.  Although there are some doubts as to the legitimacy of this legend, there is written evidence of Ethiopian coffee brewing as early as 900 AD.

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony 

Ethiopia’s coffee history has created a rich coffee tradition that still occupies a place in Ethiopian culture.  The Ethiopian coffee ceremony plays a major role in Ethiopian culture and everyday life.  The coffee ceremony is a very important social and spiritual event that takes place for two to three hours three times a day.  It is customary for the women of the household to perform the ceremony in the morning, afternoon, and evening, or when welcoming guests into their homes or in times of celebration.  The ceremony involves the women of the household to process the raw, unwashed coffee beans into finished cups of coffee.

The coffee ceremony is a multi-step process that last two to three hours:

    • First, the hostess and her daughters spread freshly cut grasses and flowers across the kitchen floor and burn incense to ward off any evil spirits. 
    • She then fills the Jebena, a clay coffee pot with a round bottomed with water and puts it over hot coals.
    • Next, the hostess holds a special pan over hot coals to clean the green coffee beans and shakes it until the beans are cleaned.
    • The hostess then uses a mortar and pestle to grind the beans into a course ground.
    • Next the hostess adds the freshly ground coffee beans into the Jebena and the mixture is brought to a boil and removed from the heat.
    • Once the coffee is brewed, the hostess pours the coffee into a tray of small handleless cups, pouring the coffee from about one foot above the cup.
    • The youngest child serves the oldest guest the  first cup of coffee, then hostess serves everyone else.
    • Guests may add sugar to their coffee and are supposed to praise the hostess for her coffee brewing skills and the coffees taste.
    • Although milk is often added to coffee, during the Ethiopian coffee ceremony it is not typically offered.
    • After the first round is finished, there are typically two additional servings, each progressively weaker than the last. These three servings are referred to as Abol, Tona, and Baraka.  

Our current Ethiopian coffees for sale

Natural Process

MEDIUM ROAST

Berries and fruit lead the flavor profile for this Ethiopian natural process. Strawberry, dried blueberries, even some raspberry, w/ some hints of lavender. We found an oh-so-subtle chocolate note at the end as well. It felt like a cousin of our Guatemalan Blue Ayarza in some ways. It’s a very full flavored coffee, solid and vibrant.

The location of where these beans come from has some mild debate in the uptight, snooty world of single origin coffees. While Bule Hora, and Gelana Abaya, where the beans are grown and then processed, respectively, are not technically right in Yirgacheffe, the towns are so close in proximity and employ the Yirgacheffe methods are used, that it is ruled to have a Yirgacheffe profile by the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange, and is therefore considered a Yirgacheffe coffee. Whatever it is, it’s a fantastic coffee that we all loved.

After being picked at elevations ranging from elevations of 5,100-5,700 feet, the beans are dried on raised beds for 18-21 days. During the hottest and sunniest time of the day they are raked frequently, and then covered to protect them from the sun, then uncovered for several hours to help the drying process, but then covered overnight to protect them from moisture (coffee beans are pretty high maintenance, eh?).

Organic - Natural Process

MEDIUM ROAST

Yet another wonderful Ethiopian natural process, and Organic to boot. Satiny milk chocolate leads the way, with a clear caramel and brown sugar thread, followed by very subtle notes of dried blueberry and cherry, without any strong citrus appearance or high acidity.

These beans come from the Burka Gudina Estate, located in the Limmu Kosa district, within the Jimma Zone of Ethiopia. The farm is run by Ibrahim Hussein, a third generation coffee farmer in the area, and is marked by gentle, rolling, forested hills that range from 1,800 – 2,000 meters.

These natural process beans are dried in the sun before processing, at which point the mucilage is scrubbed off, but still leaving behind some of the dried cherry, the latter being a key component to the sweet, rich flavor of natural process coffees such as this one.

Organic - Natural Process

MEDIUM ROAST

This natural process, Grade 1 Organic certified coffee is known for its diversified yet exquisite profile. On one side, the sweet but tangy watermelon and berry (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry) flavors brighten the cup, while the chocolate fudge notes produce a more mild finish.

These beans are harvested at the organic, privately owned Kayon Mountain farm located in the Guji zone of Ethiopia, about 6,700 feet in elevation.

The cherries are placed onto raised beds for 12-20 days, meticulously hand turned and picked over to remove and defective beans. The dried cherries are then milled to reveal the beautiful naturally processed bean.

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