Excellent coffee often comes from Ethiopia. As one of the world’s largest producers, Ethiopia is also where Arabica coffee originated.
Coffee trees are a normal part of the wild terrain in this country, making them an ideal crop and a major part of the economy. The country grows over 1,000 varieties of coffee beans.
With so many options, it can be tricky to narrow it down to one choice.
Ethiopian Coffee Options
People often prefer coffee from Ethiopia because of the way the country grows it. It is a very pure process without chemicals and offers ideal growing conditions. Because coffee trees are native, they don’t have to manipulate the conditions to grow a good crop.
The coffee from this region has high acid and complex flavor notes. The general taste has a fruity and floral edge with a light to medium body.
According to The Spruce, Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, which means it is an essential part of the culture. The people put a lot of work and care into producing the beans, which translates into a great cup of coffee.
Before getting into some specific recommendations, you should understand the three regional varieties that come from within the country:
Found in the east, the Harar region has a wine-like flavor.
The beans from this area are green-yellow in color and go through a dry process. The coffee will brew with a mocha flavor and full body.
Beans from Genika actually come from the Bench Maji zone. The beans are gray and have flavors of spice, wine, and chocolate.
Berries and citrus notes are key characteristics of Sidamo coffee beans. Located in the highlands, Sidamo produces Strictly High Grown beans.
Because of the elevation, the beans grow slowly, which means they have stronger flavors and more nutrients.
This region produces one of the highest quality coffees you can buy.
7 Ethiopian Coffee Options
Now that you know a bit more about Ethiopian coffee, here’s a look at seven wonderful options that you can buy right now.
The whole bean, medium roast Ethiopian Yirgacheffee Kichere is from Fresh Roasted Coffee, LLC. It has a mild flavor with hints of honey, lemon, chocolate, lavender, pineapple, and strawberry.
The beans go through sun drying and are an heirloom variety. The beans for this Sidamo coffee come from Ethiopia, but go through processing and packaging in the U.S.
You can get this in packages of 12 ounces, 2 pounds, and 5 pounds.
- Medium body
- Exotic flavor
- Not Fair Trade
- Heavy roasting
This Sidamo coffee from ATIKEM Coffee comes ground and ready to make. It is a Fair Trade product and is certified organic.
The coffee is a medium roast with a creamy, sweet taste. The single-origin beans are 100% arabica.
It has a smooth finish without bitterness and a strong yet gentle flavor. You’ll also benefit from the antioxidant roast.
- Fair Trade
- Sweet taste
- Not robust
- It May have a fruity edge
This Fair Trade coffee from Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC is a light roast Sidamo. It comes as whole beans. It is available in 12 ounces, 2 pound, or 5-pound bags.
It is an earthy-flavored coffee with a strong taste of blueberry. The light and creamy taste come with balanced acidity.
The single-origin coffee goes through an organic growing process. Roasting and packaging occur in the U.S.
- Fair Trade
- Smooth taste
- Lovely blueberry notes
- Heavy roasting
- Quality issues due to long expiration dates
The whole bean, lightly roasted coffee from Cooper’s Coffee Company goes through a dry process. It has a bold flavor with brightness to it that comes from only green beans.
The flavor profile includes honey, lemon, and floral notes. It goes down smooth while giving you plenty of intense taste. This coffee is anything but boring.
The company also works hard to ensure only the best quality beans go into its product.
- Nutty aftertaste
- Light roast option
- Low acidity
- Not a true light roast
- The label isn’t clear on the origin
This Limu coffee is organic and Fair Trade. It comes as whole beans in a 5-pound bag.
The balanced body features citrus, fruit, and spice. Beans create a mild flavor with a smooth finish. It is a strong taste profile with little sweetness. The brew has some bitterness, but not too much to make it off-putting.
- Fair Trade
- Mild bitterness
- Strong spice flavor
- Lacks strength
This Volcanica Coffee Company product is an Ethiopian Yirgachefee. It has a bright profile with a medium body.
The flavors are bold with undertones of wine and fruit. You’ll also taste strawberry and cinnamon notes. It is a complex coffee that will sit heavy on your tongue and provide an intense taste.
The bag features whole beans. You can buy it in single-pound bags. It is fresh roasted and packaged quickly for the best flavor.
- Intense taste profile
- Sold in small bags for freshness
- Bitter aftertaste
- Heavy roasted
Wild Coffee provides you with certified organic Sidamo coffee. It is also single-origin and Fair Trade. Roasting in small batches helps to ensure the flavor profile and quality of the beans.
The taste is rich and full body. It features berry and fruit flavors and a wine finish with some acidity.
The medium roast occurs in the U.S. but all beans are 100% authentic Sidamo from smaller produces in the region.
- Fair Trade
- Small batch processing
- Light taste
- Bag not vacuum sealed
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you have a better idea of what to expect in Ethiopian coffees, you may have a few lingering questions.
Here’s a look at some common questions people ask when buying this type of coffee.
How is Ethiopian Coffee Different?
The main difference between Ethiopian coffee and that of other areas is the growing conditions.
Most coffee is grown in regions where coffee trees do not naturally grow. Because the coffee here is native, it has the best possible growing conditions.
They grow at high elevations, which means the trees produce a hard and dense bean packed with flavor and sugar.
They are naturally sweeter and produce flavors you can’t get from beans grown elsewhere without human manipulation or adding flavorings to the coffee beans.
These beans are also usually smaller. This can be a challenge and is often the reason why many of the cheaper brands on the market have common complaints about over roasting or bitterness.
Small beans require more careful roasting to prevent overdoing them.
Finally, the flavor profiles are something you cannot create.
It is 100% something that comes from nature and the growing conditions. Overall, true Ethiopian coffee will have specific flavor profiles that stand out clearly.
Does Buying Coffee Help the People in Ethiopia?
According to Food for the Hungry, you support the locals and help with the overall economy in the country by buying Ethiopian coffee.
The country relies heavily on coffee exports as its main form of revenue.
What Is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade USA explains that the Fair Trade label means that the product supports the community from which it came.
It guarantees the company followed specific guidelines pertaining to environmental, economic, and social fairness.
It also must meet high standards that help ensure responsibility in every step of the production, from growth to the consumer.
How Do I Know I Have a Good Ethiopian Coffee?
The best way to tell is through using all your senses. When you open the bag, it should smell good with undertones standing out.
When you brew it, the coffee should be dark brown. The taste should match that which the producer promised on the packaging. It should feel rich and smooth to your mouth.
Is Ethiopian Coffee Right for Me?
You will probably like this type of coffee if you prefer fruity undertones.
Most of the coffee from this area will have various fruit and floral flavors, often bordering on wine tastes. If you don’t like wine or do not like fruity coffee, then this is probably not the right choice for you.
Ethiopian coffee is a favorite of many worldwide. When buying, you should always check the labels to get an idea of the flavor profiles and region from which it came. This will help you to choose the coffee that best suits your taste buds.
Remember that all the coffee from this region has a strong flavor profile and will give you some of the best and most robust coffee brews.
Most people recommend adding a little cream, but since the beans are often sweet, you likely won’t need additional sweeteners.
The bottom line is that there are many options in coffee from Ethiopia.
One thing you can count on is rich beans with strong flavors and mild bitterness. If this sounds like something you would enjoy, you should pick up some beans today.
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