Ethiopia – The Land of Wild Forest Coffees That Taste Like Wine
Where does the name Ethiopia come from? It is derived from the Greek form, “aithiopia,” which is made up of two words: “aitho” (I burn) and “ops” (face.). It means the land of scorched faces, a reference to the country’s many ethnic groups and mixed populations living together.
The Greeks called all peoples south of Egypt, “Ethiopians.” The area “south of Egypt” was the area now known as Nubia. Modern usage of the word transferred this name further south and came to include land and peoples known in the late 19th and 20th century as Abyssinia. This name is actually of uncertain origin and many people consider it to be an Arabic word meaning “mixed.” An additional interpretation that is very appropriate for the coffee tradition that Ethiopia represents is the description of Ethiopia as a land of “spices, perfumes and fragrances.”
Ethiopia has ideal coffee growing conditions in the East, South and Western areas of the country. Coffee grows naturally and benefits from the altitude, ample rainfall, temperature and fertile soils. Ethiopia produces wonderful Arabica coffees. Ethiopian coffee farming has changed little over the centuries.
The coffee falls in one of the following categories: Forest or Wild Coffee; Semi-Forest Coffee, and Garden Coffee.
Most of the Forest Coffee is still collected from naturally seeded wild trees. For the production of Semi-Forest and Garden Coffee, Ethiopians follow naturally developed sustainable practices.
About 90% to 95% of all Ethiopian coffee can be classified as having one of the previously mentioned origins.
Ethiopians can boast about one amazing coffee fact: Ethiopian coffee, by nature alone, is the world’s most organically pure and authentic origin coffee.
Ethiopia is Africa’s biggest producer of the crop. In 2009, the coffee harvest in Ethiopia was at least 25% higher than in 2008, according to the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange. The primary reason for the increase was the result of the introduction of a new quality-certification system, improved support to farmers from government agents and greater use of the exchange by traders. Improved quality means higher consumption because buyers are willing to pay more for better coffee. This is good news and if the trend continues, Ethiopian coffee will continue to increase its market share.
Ethiopian coffee is known for its berry like acidity, rich aroma and full-bodied flavor.
Without a doubt, Ethiopia produces some of the most unique coffee beans in the world today: they express floral and citrus notes with particular intensity.
The tasting notes are “citrusy” with hints of flowers and honey.
The floral character explores the sweet acidic notes of berries and citrus.
Ethiopia’s highly aromatic coffee is sprinkled with toasty notes of nuts and nuances of creamy milk chocolates.
Ethiopian coffee has a smooth finish, almost like fine wine.
A cooking tip with coffee: Ready to grill some chicken or other fowl for a meal? As an accent, try this woodsy, full-bodied sauce:
1 cup blackberries
5 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon mustard and
1 tablespoon ground coffee.
Puree the blackberries, sugar, mustard and coffee, then add about 1/3 cup or less chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste.
Pour through a sieve into a pan or small container. Transfer to a saucepan over medium heat and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour on top of the grilled chicken when serving…..delicious!
And, of course, as grand finale, prepare a cup of specialty Ethiopian Longberry Harrar coffee!