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Coffee Origins: Ethiopia

The title of this journal entry works in two distinct ways. Ethiopia tends to be one of the most popular origins in specialty coffee, with coffees from regions such as Guji and Yirgacheffe being everywhere due to their high quality and flavorful profiles.

But it also works because for the most part, Ethiopia is where Coffee Arabica is believed to have originated. To be more specific, it was by the Tepi Volcano in the Ethiopian Plateau, 7°25'N 35°25'E in the region of Kaffa, Jima.

For millions of years the coffee plant has flourished in Ethiopia, indigenous and wild varieties of Arabica are found in the forest. This richness in bio diversity of species is not found anywhere else, some plants are still not identified.

About 15 million people are involved in coffee in Ethiopia, whether growing the trees, picking, processing, and exporting. As with most African coffees, the majority of these coffees are traceable to co-op level, since most growers are small landholders farming at a subsistence level.

Though there are over 100 heirloom varieties of Arabica, coffee from Ethiopia is traditionally described as wildly fruity, with floral notes. I personally look for blueberry notes in Ethiopian naturals, this was one of the reasons why we chose our Beshasha as soon as we tried it.

Other exotic coffee varietals such as the Geisha have more floral notes, sometimes reminiscent of orchids. For the most part, you can't go wrong with coffee from this origin, wether a natural or washed processed, coffees from Ethiopia tend to be balanced and flavorful.

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