Ethiopia is the homeland of Coffea arabica, so it's no surprise that to this day some of the most distinctive coffees you'll taste are Ethiopian single-origins. Countless heirloom varieties thrive in the East African nation, where high altitude and varying micro-climates provide ideal growing conditions for coffee.
Ethiopian coffees are often defined by berry-like or tropical fruit notes, citrus acidity, and floral tones. They're prized as single-origins, but also play an essential role in many blends, providing lively top notes and sweetness to balance the nuttiness of a Brazilian coffee, for instance, or the deep body of a wet-hulled Sumatra.
Most coffee in Ethiopia is grown by smallholder farmers working a few hectares of farmland. They typically bring their harvest to cooperatively-owned washing stations for processing—converting the fresh-picked coffee fruit into green coffee beans that are ready for export.
Natural process Ethiopian coffees (dried fully intact before the inner bean is removed) are highly sought after for their intense berry aroma and flavor. Washed Ethiopians (skin and mucilage removed prior to drying) tend to reveal more floral and tea-like notes.
We're currently offering two Ethiopian single-origins, each a unique expression of what the region has to offer:
Our naturally-processed selection is fruity and earthy, with a lightly spiced/herbal aspect. We found aromas and flavors of berry jam in the cup, with a velvety body featuring baking spice and lemongrass notes and Swiss chocolate aftertaste.
This offering is unique in that it comes from a single farm in northwestern Ethiopia's Limu zone, rather than a co-op, as is the norm. Yidnekachew Dabessa and his brother Mesfin became large-scale coffee farmers in 2008, with years of experience as a smallholder farmer (Yidnekachew) and degrees in agricultural economics and business administration (Mesfin). They now employ 35 permanent and 95 seasonal workers, offering high wages and benefits while helping smallholders in the region by sharing advice and technological advancements.
Nano Challa Washed
Nano Challa Cooperative is located in Gera District, Jimma Zone, in western Ethiopia. Nano Challa was formed in 2004 as a way for the collective members to better process and market their harvest. In 2010, they were one of the first Ethiopian cooperatives to invest in a washing station, greatly improving the quality of their processed coffee. This raised them out of the commodity market, garnering them specialty coffee prices for their harvest.
Now boasting more than 400 members, Nano Challa has continued to invest in milling equipment, including a Penagos machine that depulps the coffee using minimal water. Great care is taken in sorting the coffee parchment and the end result is a beautifully clean coffee with floral and tropical fruit notes and great clarity. It's been a perennial favorite here at our warehouse.
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Now you know: when you're looking for something assertively fruity, with bright acidity and deep sweetness, an Ethiopian coffee is a solid bet!