Why We Love Coffee From Ethiopia
YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED THAT WE FEATURE A LOT OF COFFEE FROM ETHIOPIA - HERE'S WHY.
The southwestern highlands of Ethiopia is regarded as the birthplace of Arabica Coffee. Coffee trees from this area are considered to be the original variety of arabica coffee and their DNA has been used to grow coffee all over the world.
Coffees that are robust and genetically stable have greater disease and pest resistance - meaning there is minimal intervention in the growth phase so we (the consumer) can taste an organically grown product that highlights the qualities of Ethiopian coffee.
Of course there is a wide range in the quality of the coffee that is farmed out of Ethiopia. From the perspective of flavour, coffees from the Oromia and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Regions are some of the highest-grown anywhere in the world. High-grown coffees tend to have (and this is a big generalisation) higher perceived acidity and greater sugar content than those that are grown at lower elevations.
From our understanding this has more to do with the growth rate and diurnal temperature variation (difference between daytime and night time temperature) than it does with atmospheric conditions, like CO2 availability. This is not to say all coffee from Ethiopia is of high quality - There is still a lot of commodity coffee and lower grade coffee produced, just at a lower altitude.
Farmers in Ethiopia have also become exceptionally skilled at processing coffee. Washed and naturally processed coffees are expertly handled by generational farmers throughout Ethiopia. More recently we have seen a lot more experimental processing methods that amplify those fruit-forward coffees. One of our recent single origins, Midnight, showcased the supernatural process, and was a crowd favourite. So the combination of perfect growing conditions and skilled processing which gives amazing flavours contributes to the reason why we roast Ethiopian coffee.
That wouldn't be possible without our ability to actually purchase the coffee, would it? That is where our relationship with Project Origin and Primrose Coffee Exporters comes in. Project Origin is based out of the ACT and is a great example of what impact a coffee importer can have on not only the producer but also the consumer (us). On the ground in Ethiopia is Primrose Coffee who deals with quality control and the logistical side of the exporting.
Together there is a great synergy enabling incredible specialty coffee to be ethically sourced and distributed to us as roasters. In 2018 our Head Roaster Drew was fortunate enough to head to Ethiopia alongside Project Origin and Primrose on a trip to origin. Visiting many of the farms we buy from and understanding the processes firsthand was extremely valuable for Drew (and us). On the trip, they ventured to the Yirgacheffe and Guji regions which have been featured in our most recent roasts of single origin - The Supernatural Midnight from the Konga mill and the Uraga Washed from the Uraga mill.
We believe that coffee importing has a role to play in investing back into these coffee-growing regions. That is why we love seeing initiatives such a the Project Origin Fund - which allocates money from every bag or box of coffee sold to roasters (like us) to fund community development and sustainable improvements to processing facilities.
Project Origin works very closely with these coffee producers and as a result, we have access to many exceptional coffees from not only Ethiopia but many other regions around the world.