Ethiopia is well-known as the birthplace of coffee when a goat herder discovered a plant that made the goats full of energy. The country also produces one of the finest single-origin coffees throughout the globe, but why is Ethiopian coffee so good? What makes it so popular?
There are so many factors that can affect how a coffee tastes, these include the region, climate, soil, harvesting process, plant type, roasting, brewing method, and even shelf life. Some of these contribute to the great-tasting Ethiopian coffee and are what make it so popular.
Let’s take a look into it a bit further.
What is Ethiopian Coffee?
Ethiopia is where the coffee plant, Coffea Arabica, originated. The tradition of coffee production in Ethiopia dates back centuries ago, and it is an important part of the Ethiopian economy. This is because around 15 million people in Ethiopia rely on coffee production and processing as their means to live, and about 60% of the foreign income comes from it.
You will find coffee from Ethiopia in cafés and coffee chains all over the world. You can also purchase whole beans and pre-ground coffee from various roasters or online. How you brew the coffee is up to you, but it should always be enjoyed black.
Ethiopian coffee is an aromatic Arabica coffee that has a mild and delicate flavor to it. Ethiopian coffees are known to be less acidic and more or less have a floral undertone to them.
What Does Ethiopian Coffee Taste Like
The coffee from Ethiopia is well known for its fruity and floral notes. The coffee beans usually produce a medium body with medium acidity and a notably complex flavor profile.
Coffees from Ethiopia are naturally processed, this means that the cherry fruit is still intact with the beans inside while they are dried. This is the reason the coffee has a very fruity or sometimes sweet wine undertone and hints of bergamot, jasmine, and blueberry.
Another method is called wet processing, where the cherry fruit is removed, which produces a complex but clean and floral flavor. The way the beans are processed ultimately determines the final taste of the coffee. They either are naturally processed or washed.
When the coffees are washed or undergo wet-process, the fruit is removed immediately using a device and the beans bring out a clean tasting cup.
When the beans are naturally processed, the fruit is still in one piece as they are dried, and this method gives out a bright and fruity cup of joe.
Ethiopia Coffee Regions
There are 3 distinct locations that produce the most unique flavors of Ethiopian coffee. Ethiopian coffee beans have now become the best-reviewed and much-loved premium coffee in the world.
Sidamo region, also known as Sidama, is the southernmost province in Ethiopia where a great deal of coffee-producing areas is located. Sidamo is best recognized for its consistently rich, full-bodied, and complex flavor profile.
It is generally known to have a very vibrant aftertaste with low acidity. Sidamo beans are a staple for several coffee roasters because of their unchanging flavor.
Yirgacheffee is a small town within the Sidamo region, and it has farms that boast consistent production of one of the best coffees in the world. Yirgacheffe coffee produces a sweet and fruity flavor. It is known to be very aromatic and is medium-bodied.
They are deemed to be premium-grade coffees and are often expensive due to the reason that they are considered to be one of the highest quality Arabica beans in the world. Although known to be higher in acidity, they create an extremely aromatic and fragrant cup.
Another amazing region in Ethiopia is Harrar. It is located just east of the capital city of Addis Ababa. They exclusively produce naturally processed coffee beans. This natural process is the reason why the coffee beans have a winey, fruity flavor with a heavy, syrupy body.
Harrar coffee beans produce a medium acidic coffee that is bright and intensely flavored. The taste is often described as having a wild fruity character or “jammy” which is a reminder of a blackberry.
What is Ethiopian Coffee So Good?
Ethiopian coffee is so good due to the perfect natural growing conditions, the harvesting process, and the environment that the coffee plants grow in.
The coffee plants in Ethiopia are cultivated in perfect growing conditions. The environment in Ethiopia is perfect to produce world-class coffee beans. There are many coffee varieties that are produced in the country, and they are mostly grown in mountainous areas that are ideal for growing.
These mountainous areas provide a deep rich soil, ample climate, and good natural weather. This creates the perfect environment to grow coffee. Aside from the deep soil and lush vegetation surrounding it, most coffee plants are grown without any agricultural chemicals too.
3 Best Ways to Brew Ethiopian Coffee
Because Ethiopian Coffee has a very bold and fruity flavor, the way you brew it ultimately influences how the coffee would taste. To unlock all the amazing flavors of Ethiopian coffee, you have to give importance to the kind of brewing you should do to properly extract the best tasting cup.
We highly recommend that you use whole beans for this coffee and try to consume them within 3 months of harvesting for best results. Whole beans retain more flavor as they have not been opened to oxidization. You should grind fresh before every brew to get the best flavors.
Here are 3 of the best Ethiopian coffee brewing methods that you can try to bring out the amazing aromas and rich flavor profiles of the beans.
1. Pour-Over Coffee
When it comes to the best brewing method, pour-over Is on the top of the list. The reason behind this is that pour-over provides more control over the brewing process. Although it requires more skill and time compared to other coffee brewing methods, when finally mastered, you’ll be able to create the best cup of coffee.
As the name suggests, the way to this brewing method is to consistently pour hot water over the coffee ground-filled filter. Pour-over is a long process of brewing, since you need to slowly pour the water over the coffee grounds so as not to spill.
2. French Press Coffee
Another brewing method to bring out the best flavors of Ethiopian coffee is using a French Press. French press is a simple and straightforward brewing method that produces a fresh cup of coffee in just a few easy steps.
With a French Press, all you need to do is pour the coffee grounds and hot water in the device, and let them settle for a bit. After they’ve brewed together, using a plunger with a metal filter, you slowly press it down to let the coffee beans settle at the bottom.
It’s important to leave it a minute or even more if you can, to avoid sediment in your brew. Because a metal filter is used, the coffee oils are not absorbed, which then makes the coffee taste rich and full.
3. Cold Brew Coffee
The last brewing method you can do is Cold Brew Coffee. With Cold Brew coffee, you can extract the rich, fruity flavor of Ethiopian coffee without using any hot water. Cold Brew coffee is best for people who are sensitive to acid, since this brewing method produces less acidity compared to other brews. Of course, if you enjoy cold brew coffee, then it’s for you as well!
When you make a cold brew at home, allow the coffee grounds to steep in water for 12 hours or more. The longer you leave it, the stronger and more acidic the coffee will be.
The Final Sip
Ethiopian coffee is so good because of the environment that it is grown in. Ultimately, the harvesting process, roasting process, and the way you brew the coffee can affect how the coffee tastes. But coffee from Ethiopia is extremely popular around the world. The fruity herbal notes you get with every cup give you every reason to love the coffee.