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In the eighteenth century the plant genus Coffea was identified and named for Science. Arabica, the only species which makes coffee taste great, was discovered growing in present day Yemen and hence its name. Little did the botanists of the day know. Centuries prior to its naming, arabica had already crossed the Red Sea from its home in Ethiopia on its journey around the world. It is thought that a successful Ethiopian invasion of Arabia brought with it coffee. After the invasion, in 525 AD, the Ethiopians likely began to plant coffee in southern Arabia during their 50 year rule.

Today we know that arabica should have been named, Coffea abyssinia, after the ancient kingdom which today we know as Ethiopia. It is still the only species growing wild and being cultivated in Ethiopia today.

Coffee is critical to the Ethiopian economy with exports of some $350 million in 2006, but historically low prices have seen many farmers switching to qat to supplement income. Link:

The roots of the coffee industry do not simply stop with arabica being solely indigenous to Ethiopia. More and more ancient texts are being discovered which point to Ethiopia being the origin of coffee cultivation, roasting and brewing. Coffee as we know it today is :

Ethiopia’s gift to the world.

Unlike tea, which is a traditional Asian beverage, coffee in its entirety is solely African in origin and custom.

Coffee in Ethiopia is like nowhere else in the world. 25 % of the population (ca. 15 million) derive there livelihood from the coffee sector and its drinking is of social and cultural importance. At least 50 % of the annual crop is consumed locally. Also economically, coffee is pivotal to Ethiopia since it contributes about 60 % of the national export earnings.

Ethiopian coffee farming has hardly changed over the centuries. The coffee can be termed :

Forest or Wild Coffee,

Semi-Forest Coffee, and

Garden Coffee.

Most of the Forest Coffee is still collected form naturally seeded wild trees. Naturally evolved sustainable practices are followed for the production of Semi-Forest and Garden Coffee. 90 to 95 % of all Ethiopian coffee can be classified as having one of the above the origins.

By nature alone it is the world’s most organically pure and authentic origin coffee.

The remaining 5 to 10 % of Ethiopia’s coffee comes from commercial plantations. Many of these are currently being privatised. Privately owned Ethiopian plantation coffee is now shade grown using wholly organic farming methods.

Distinctive coffee growing regions make up Ethiopian Coffee.

Ethiopian coffee regions These are located in the west, east and south of the country at altitudes of 900 to 2 900 m.

Hence it is often termed Highland Coffee.

Both Dry- (natural) and Wet-processed coffee is available.

Many of the regions have won international acclaim for the quality of their terroir coffees.

Other coffee producing countries search for terroir. Only Ethiopia’s coffee producing regions is coffee terroir.

Ethiopia has a broad genetic diversity among its coffee varieties. Aroma and flavour are the unique characteristics of all the different varieties. Hundreds of different arabica types are cultivated in the different growing regions, all with distinct tastes/aromas, sizes, shapes and colours. Ecological factors affecting their characteristics are :

Rainfall, Temperature, Altitude, Soil and Shade.

Being indigenous to Ethiopia all the factors are naturally optimised. No matter where else arabica is grown, Ethiopia’s unique ecological conditions have to be mimicked to produce the best coffee.

The world has once again awoken to benefits in the cup resulting from a coffee grown using solely sustainable natural (organic) methods.

The additional benefits to the environment and health of farmers using these agricultural practices can also not be over-stressed. This is nothing new to Ethiopians.

Purely by nature, Ethiopian coffee can be termed “Organic” and “Environment Friendly”.

Maybe the major coffee consuming nations should re-examine their organic and other coffee farming certification procedures. Ethiopia’s farmers, having kept natures values alive while most others went or are into mass producing coffee using chemical fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides, are on the whole too poor to pay a certifying organisation for official classification. Regretfully, the current certification programs primarily serve farmers and organisation that have additional resources and are using or previously had used, chemical and other unnatural coffee farming methods.

South African coffee drinkers have few, if any, positive associations with Ethiopia although Addis Ababa is the Head Quarters of the African Union. They typically know even less about the quality of its coffee, despite excellent testimonials from the coffee trade.

In May 2000, an international panel of coffee experts for The Coffee Review declared :

“An Ethiopian Harar coffee attracted the highest rating of any coffee in the history of our panel cuppings…..”

“These ancient, subtly powerful coffees, with their shifting, kaleidoscopic nuance of wine, berry and chocolate, are among the world’s greatest and most singular coffee experiences.”

Like many in the coffee trade we believe Ethiopia’s coffees to be :

Some of the best and unarguably the most distinct and varied coffee.

Being so diverse we are of the conviction that there is an Ethiopian coffee to everyone’s preference, no matter what brewing technique is preferred.

All Ethiopian coffee farmers drink the produce of their own labour. This quality assurance direct from the farmer to the end consumer is unparalleled and reflected in every cup of Abol Bunna.

iKhofi is a specialist Ethiopian coffee roaster. In order to assure that we only purchase  from the best of Ethiopia’s annual coffee crop we source directly from Ethiopia. Prior to us making any purchasing decisions we cup (taste) a huge number of different samples sent to us by our partners in Ethiopia. We only stock those coffees which meet our exacting specialty coffee standards sought after  in the cuppings (tasting’s) and once optimally roasted label them ABOL BUNNA.

iKhofi @ 11 Jennifer / The suburban coffee roaster for the home coffee brewer ! /

Tel : +27(0)11 678-8638 / Cell : 082 852-7073

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Written by cyberiadmin

February 7, 2011 at 9:50 am

Posted in Places

Tagged with ,

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