Regions of Note for Single Origin Coffees in Africa: Ethiopia
Ethiopia, where as legend has it coffee’s caffeinating effects were first discovered, is today a rich, lush source of some of the finest single-trade coffees available. It’s worth exploring so much, in fact, that it’s best divided up into the single origin regions that produce noteworthy coffe.
- Harar: It could be said that Harar is in the “cradle of coffee civilization” considering its location in northeastern Ethiopia and proximity to the famous coffee country of Yemen. Harar is actually a town in Ethiopia of some 150,000, and its altitude (over a mile above sea level) make it ideal for certain types of Arabica to grow here.
- Bean description: A Harar coffee bean is medium sized and has a yellowish tint away from the standard green of unroasted coffee pits. Harar beans are dry processed, which means that they are sorted by hand. Generally, the laborers working in Harar know how to distinguish between individual types of Harar beans such as Longberry, Shortberry, and Mocha beans. Like Sidamo, the flavor of Harar coffee is generally spicy, chocolaty, and has a crisp, almost citrusy, tint.
- Sidamo: Getting its name from the Sidamo province in Ethiopia, this is a popular single origin coffee bean among those in the know. In fact, because of the coffee grown here, Sidamo has enjoyed prosperity in trading in years past, at least relative to other regions.
- Bean description: Smaller and greyer than the Harar bean, Sidamo beans tend to share flavors similar to that of the Harar coffee bean.
- Yirgacheffe: Sometimes written as Yirga Cheffe, this is a coffee bean that is known to have “less body” but is capable of producing amazing flavors. Yirgacheffe is often wet processed (or washed) rather than dry processed like Harar beans.
- Bean description: The flavor of the bean is typically described as nutty or chocolaty, giving it a subtle difference from Harar and Sidamo to those people who are experienced with single origin coffees.
- Limu: Sometimes also spelled “Limmu,” this type of coffee is similar to Yirgacheffe in that it is frequently wet processed. The acidity content of these beans is actually quite low, which means that people who struggle with drinking coffee because of acid reflux problems may find some relieving effects in Ethiopian Limu coffee.
- Bean description: Contrasting with the other single origin Ethiopian beans, the Limu is actually quite “fruity” as far as coffee go – it has a subtle almost wine flavor that mixes well with its other spice flavors. It’s a great-smelling bean, as well.