Varietal : Heirloom
Processing: Fully washed and dried on beds
Altitude: 1,500 to 2,000 metres above sea level
Owners: 200 smallholder farmers
TASTING NOTES: a floral flavour and a note of bergamot. A tea-like coffee.
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WHERE IN ETHIOPIA?
Since Ethiopia started to centralize all coffee exports through the newly established Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX), it has been more difficult to get accurate information about the precise provenance of coffees.
Another change to Ethiopia’s coffee trading practices has frustrated coffee lovers. Since 2009, growers’ ability to sell direct to export markets has been very much limited, again restricting accurate traceability of what is still considered as the cornerstone of specialty coffee.
The Ethiopian Coffee Board is now trialling a bar-coding system that will enable a small percentage of the country’s production to be ‘traced back’ after the initial anonymised purchase on the ECX. We will be watching results with interest, as the concept looks promising.
FROM VERY SMALL FARMS IN SIDAMO
In fact most of the farms are smaller than 1 hectare. And yes, this Ethiopian coffee was selected on the basis of its exceptional cup profile first and foremost. This remains a guiding principle wherever our coffee is sourced. The situation in Ethiopia is being monitored, but regardless of developments, we will continue to offer coffee based on cup quality.
COFFEE FROM the Sidamo region
In fact, a region we tend to favour is Sidamo. It is a region that lends itself to coffee growing, with its fertile highlands. In fact, coffee grows wild on hillsides in Sidamo. Many believe Ethiopia to be the birthplace of coffee and most farmers use different heirloom varietals of Arabica beans.
While Sidamo covers a large area in Southern Ethiopia, south of Lake Awasa in the Rift Valley, most coffee farms are small and pool their coffee beans at a local co-op, where beans from various farms are blended. The 20-odd different ‘woredas’ (areas) that make up the Sidamo region have varying microclimates and altitudes; accordingly, there is a wide variety of cup profiles that contribute to giving Sidamo coffee a much appreciated complexity.
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