7 Popular Types of Ethiopian Coffee

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.

What’s so Special about Ethiopian Coffee Beans?

One of the reasons that Ethiopian coffee is so distinctly good is that Ethiopia has excellent growing conditions for coffee beans. 

Due to the high altitude and ideal climate, coffee beans grown in Ethiopia produce rich and complex flavors.

Ethiopian coffee beans also stand out due to how they are processed. 

More specifically, coffee beans made in Ethiopia have a natural drying process, which means the cherry fruit is still attached to the coffee bean while it dries out. 

This unique drying process gives the coffee a fruity and wine-like taste that is considered the hallmark feature of Ethiopian coffee beans.

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.

3 Best Types of Ethiopian Coffee Beans (Most Popular)

It is worth learning about the different coffee beans originating from the country to appreciate Ethiopian coffee beans.  

Ethiopian coffee beans are frequently categorized based on the regions they come from.

In particular, there are three popular coffee regions in Ethiopia

  • Yirgacheffe 
  • Sidamo 
  • Harrar

Several other coffee-producing regions in Ethiopia have distinct coffee bean types.

Still, Yirgacheffe, Sidamo, and Harrar are probably the most well-known places for Ethiopian coffee beans on the market. 

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

Yirgacheffe coffee beans are thought to be one of the top Arabica coffee varieties.

Words frequently used to describe the Yirgacheffe coffee flavor profile include:

  • Sweet 
  • Spicy
  • Fragrant 

Made in the southern region of Ethiopia, these coffee beans are wet-processed, which means they are washed. 

Yirgacheffe coffee beans are also grown at a very high altitude—at least 1,700 meters above sea level. 

This altitude causes the coffee beans to grow slower and have more time to absorb nutrients and flavor.

The floral and citrus flavors of the Yirgacheffe coffee bean (think like a fruity red wine) make it a preferable option for brewing iced coffees. 

Yirgacheffe coffee beans also have chocolate or nutty flavors, and many coffee experts associate them with a sweet and almost dessert-like coffee variety.

In terms of roast, Yirgacheffe coffee beans typically taste best with either a medium or dark roast. A medium roast is probably the most popular because it enhances the acidity of the Yirgacheffe coffee beans.

Dark roast Yirgacheffe coffee beans are great for bringing out those sweeter and heavier flavors, such as the chocolate and nutty aspects of the Yirgacheffe flavor profile. 

Interestingly, Yirgacheffe coffee beans are also said to do well in an espresso roast. The fruity flavors still come through in an espresso roast, especially a light espresso roast, which makes for a delicious shot of espresso. 

Another option for getting a similar flavor would be just to run a dark roast through an espresso machine.

An additional tip for thoroughly enjoying Yirgacheffe coffee is to use a slow brewing process, such as a French press. 

Most of the favor comes from the bean’s oil, so avoid processes that fully strain out all of the coffee grounds (like a paper filter), as this will prevent the flavorful oil from being brewed into your beverage. 

Ethiopian Sidamo

Sidamo is another trendy and prevalent coffee region in Ethiopia. Sidamo coffee beans have a lower acidity than Yirgacheffe coffee beans and have a pleasant, soft floral flavor.

Like Yirgacheffe coffee beans, Sidamo coffee beans are grown at a high altitude to enhance nutrient absorption and flavor.

Sidamo coffee beans get a wash through a process called wet processing. 

These coffee beans have a citrus and floral flavor similar to Yirgacheffe coffee beans, evoking a lemon flavor in particular. Yet, Sidamo coffee beans have a slightly earthier flavor profile. 

The flavor of Sidamo coffee makes it perfect for pairing with a light, citrus dessert, such as a lemon bar. 

Sidamo coffee beans do well in a light roast—the beans have a robust sweet flavor, so a darker roast would likely undermine the earthier flavors and make the sweet elements far too overwhelming. 

For brewing, Sidamo coffee beans are another type of bean that tastes best when brewed in a slow process, like a French press. 

Preserving that oil is essential for getting the full complexity of the Sidamo flavor profile. Sidamo can also do well as a light espresso roast, creating a sweet and floral cup of espresso. 

Be forewarned, however, that Sidamo coffee beans are not ideal for espresso beverages like lattes or cappuccinos. 

Drinks that are heavy on the milk will overpower and block out the flavors of the Sidamo coffee bean. On a similar note, avoid putting too much extra sugar into your Sidamo coffee. 

The Sidamo coffee beans already have a naturally delightful flavor, and adding in more sugar will likely make the drink far too sweet to be enjoyable.

Ethiopian Harrar

Now let’s discuss a popular type of dry-processed Ethiopian coffee beans. 

Harrar coffee beans are left to dry naturally with the cherry still attached, giving them a powerfully aromatic and fruity flavor profile.

Much like a dry wine, Harrar coffee beans have a rich, complex, fragrant flavor that evokes hints of:

  • Blackberries 
  • Blueberries 
  • Cinnamon spice
  • A bit of smokiness. 

The rich flavor of Harrar coffee makes it a preferred choice for a flavorful espresso blend.

There are a few different varieties of Harrar coffee beans, including:

  • Longberry 
  • Shortberry
  • Mocha 

As the name suggests, the Mocha variety of Harrar coffee beans has the most robust chocolate-like flavor.  

Harrar Shortberry coffee beans have a dry taste, heavy body, and solid spiced flavor. You can also describe the Shortberry bean as having a slightly fermented aftertaste. 

Coffee lovers commonly consider The Longberry coffee bean to be the most flavorful of the Harrar coffee beans, given that the larger bean size results in a higher amount of oil.

Like other Ethiopian coffees, You should brew Harrar coffee slowly and retain as much oil as possible to give optimum flavor. 

Harrar coffee beans can make for a very nice espresso, and espresso made from Harrar coffee will produce a delightful cream or foam on the top.

4 Other (less popular) Types of Ethiopian Coffee Beans

There are many more coffee-producing regions and coffee bean varieties that come from Ethiopia. 

Although maybe not as famous as Yirgacheffe, Sidamo, or Harrar, these other types of beans have fantastic flavors and are worth exploring.

Djimmah Coffee Beans 

For more adventurous coffee lovers, try a complex and unique coffee blend called Djimmah. Make sure it has been wet-processed, or you won’t like the taste. 

  • It is grown in the Kaffa and Illubabor regions at a very high altitude. 
  • The high altitude gives this coffee bean a complex and robust flavor, especially when wet-processed, which produces a tasty coffee with low acidity. 
  • A dry-processed Djimmah coffee bean has an overwhelming and generally unpleasant flavor.

Limu Coffee Beans

Comparable to Sidamo coffee beans, these beans have a sharp flavor but low acidity.

Limu coffee is an excellent option if you’re looking for a spicy and vibrant flavor without edge. 

Ghimbi Coffee Beans

For a heavier body and more acidity, consider coffee beans from the Ghimbi region.

These wet-processed coffee beans are particularly rich and have a complex flavor. 

Lekempti Coffee Beans

Another slightly less bold option would be Lekempti coffee beans, which have a considerable body and a satisfying amount of acidity.

Wondering whether you can get a taste of Ethiopian coffee while sitting on your couch watching TV? You can get some amazing Ethiopian coffee delivered right at your door step.

Below I am covering

7 Ethiopian Coffee Options

Wondering whether you can get a taste of Ethiopian coffee while sitting on your couch watching TV? You can get some amazing Ethiopian coffee delivered right at your door step.

Below I am covering seven wonderful options that you can buy right now.

1. Ethiopian Yirgacheffee Kochere

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.

Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Kochere Coffee, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, 2 Pound Bag

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.

Pros:

  • Organic
  • Medium body
  • Exotic flavor

Cons:

  • Not Fair Trade
  • Heavy roasting

2. ATIKEM Coffee Sidamo

This Sidamo coffee from ATIKEM Coffee comes ground and ready to make. It is a Fair Trade product and is certified organic.

ATIKEM Organic Ethiopian Sidamo Coffee Ground, Creamy Medium Roast, Premium Arabica Coffee, Organic Fairtrade Coffee - Ground 12 ounce (1 Pack)

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.

Pros:

  • Organic
  • Fair Trade
  • Sweet taste

Cons:

  • Not robust
  • It May have a fruity edge

3. Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC Ethiopian Sidamo

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.

Fresh Roasted Coffee, Organic Ethiopian Sidamo Light Roast, Fair Trade Kosher, Whole Bean, 5 Pound

It is an earthy-flavored coffee with a strong taste of blueberry. The light and creamy taste comes with balanced acidity.

The single-origin coffee goes through an organic growing process. Roasting and packaging occur in the U.S.

Pros:

  • Fair Trade
  • Smooth taste
  • Lovely blueberry notes

Cons:

  • Heavy roasting
  • Quality issues due to long expiration dates

4. Cooper’s Coffee Company Single Origin Ethiopian Farm Gate Light Roast

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.

Ethiopian Bright Light Roast Grade 1, Whole Bean Coffee, Natural Dry Processed Origin, Intense Bright & Bold Coffee Beans, Gourmet Coffee - 12 oz Bag

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.

Pros:

  • Nutty aftertaste
  • Light roast option
  • Low acidity

Cons:

  • Not a true light roast
  • The label isn’t clear on the origin

5. Ajuvo Ethiopian Coffee Limu

This Limu coffee is organic and Fair Trade. It comes as whole beans in a 5-pound bag.

Ethiopian Limu Coffee | 100% Organic and Fair Trade | Roasted, Whole Bean | Two (2) Pounds

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.

Pros:

  • Fair Trade
  • Organic
  • Mild bitterness

Cons:

  • Strong spice flavor
  • Lacks strength

6. Volcanica Coffee Company 100% Arabica Coffee

This Volcanica Coffee Company product is an Ethiopian Yirgachefee. It has a bright profile with a medium body.

Ethiopian Coffee, Yirgacheffe Region, Organic, Whole Bean, Fresh Roasted 16-ounce

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.

Pros:

  • Intense taste profile
  • Chemical-free
  • Sold in small bags for freshness

Cons:

  • Bitter aftertaste
  • Heavy roasted

7. Wild Coffee Sidamo

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.

Wild Coffee, Organic Austin Roasted Small-Batch Whole Bean, 100% Arabica, Fair Trade, Single-Origin, Low Acid, Grade 1 (Sidamo Medium Roast, 12 ounce)

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.

Pros:

  • Fair Trade
  • Organic
  • Small batch processing

Cons:

  • Light taste
  • Bag not vacuum sealed

Some Frequently Asked Questions about Ethiopian Coffee

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 Ethiopian Coffee have more Caffeine?

Although Ethiopian coffee beans are pretty flavorful, their caffeine content is actually on the lower side than coffee beans worldwide. 

This statistic makes Ethiopian coffee beans a great choice if you want a tasty beverage without overdoing it on the caffeine. 

Is Ethiopian coffee healthy?

Although coffee, in general, isn’t the most healthy drink of choice, Ethiopian coffee beans do have a notable amount of antioxidants, which can be beneficial to your health. 

Does Starbucks sell Ethiopian coffee?

Yes! The popular coffee chain sources coffee beans from Ethiopia and even has a single-origin coffee called “Ethiopia” that came out in 2013. 

The Starbucks “Ethiopia” coffee is wet-processed and comes in a medium roast.

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.

What is Arabica coffee?

Arabica coffee refers to a particular species of a coffee bean plant, called Coffea arabica. 

This extraordinary plant is the first-ever plant that humans cultivated coffee beans from, and you can find it in Ethiopia and surrounding regions. 

Arabica coffee beans have a fantastic flavor and aroma with more lipids and sugar than the robusta coffee plant.

How many types of coffee are there in Ethiopia?

There are thousands of different coffee bean varieties in Ethiopia. 

Since the country’s southern region has a mountainous terrain with fertile soil, coffee beans can thrive and become highly flavorful due to the slowed growing process at the high altitude. 

Final Words

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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