Coffee Origins – 1. Ethiopia

An introduction to coffee origins

We roast coffee from all around the world, from the Americas to Africa to Asia. There are so many countries that produce good quality coffee, so why are they all different?

In this series we aim to shed some light on the diversity of coffee. We will take you on a journey of the ‘coffee belt’ and show you our experiences and thoughts on origin….


What better place to start than the so called birth place of coffee! I can’t promise this blog won’t be biased, I love Ethiopian coffee.
Ethiopia was the first country where coffee was discovered, although coffee has since been found wild in other countries too such as Madagascar. I won’t spin a yarn about Kaldi the goat herder but what you need to know is good quality coffee requires two main things – a close proximity to the equator (between the tropics) and high altitude. Ethiopia is ideally positioned just north of the Equator, and has some of the most ideal coffee growing highlands.
Unlike most agricultural setups, the majority of Ethiopian coffee comes from wild (also known as ‘Heirloom’) coffee species. In fact, most of the Arabica species around the world today are successions from wild Ethiopian species.

Most Ethiopia coffee is ‘washed process’ – the fruit around the seed is removed straight after picking and the seeds are washed to remove excess fruit pulp. A typical washed coffee will be tea like, fruity, bright, clean and floral.
There is a growing trend For Ethiopia coffee to be ‘dry’ or ‘Natural’ process – where the fruit is left intact whilst drying. A typical natural coffee will be sticky sweet, with tropical fruit flavours and floral notes.
Ethiopia coffees are particularly sweet on the whole, and even though they can be very bright and fruity the extra sweetness brings balance. They have a complex flavour making for an interesting cup profile. In other words, they are straight up yum.

Check out our Ethiopia Refisa Nensebo here