Ethiopia is considered the birthplace of coffee
Legend has it that an Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi discovered coffee in 850 A.D. when he observed his goats eating the berries of a small bush. He noted that the goats became quite lively and danced about after eating the berries so he tried the berries himself. He was delighted with the energy he obtained after eating those little red berries and in his excitement took them to a monk in a nearby monastery.
The monk declared them the Devil’s work and threw them into the fire. You can guess what happened next.
The monks could smell the delicious aroma rising from the fire. They raked the now roasted berries from the fire and crushed them – then covered them in water and boiled it – and so the first cup of coffee was born.
Linguists have found the earliest reference to coffee in Ethiopia is in Arabic documents dating back to the year 900. The documents refer to a strange new drink called “buna” that was being consumed throughout the country; “buna” is Oromiyan (a language spoken in Ethiopia) for coffee. (source)
What is known for sure is that the Coffea arabica plant originated in Ethiopia. That one plant is now grown all over the world. Ethiopian coffee accounts for approximately 3% of global coffee growing market but accounts for over 60% of the Ethiopian foreign income – with estimates of over 15 million Ethiopians relying on the coffee industry in some form for their livelihood.
Ethiopian coffee beans that are grown in either the Harar, Yirgacheffe or Limu regions are kept apart and marketed under their regional name. These regional varieties are trademarked names with the rights owned by Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee
Yirgacheffe is a subregion of the area known as Sidamo. Sidamo is thought to be where the coffee plant originated.
Sidamo is in the Ethiopian highlands at elevations from 1,500 up to 2,200 meters above sea level. At these elevations the coffee beans can be qualified as “Strictly High Grown” (SHG). In these areas the Ethiopian coffees grow more slowly and therefore have more time to absorb nutrients and develop more robust flavors due to the local climate and soil conditions.
The beans are processed with the wet method which means instead of being picked and dried immediately, wet processing requires thorough washing. The coffee beans soak in giant water vats immediately after they’re picked. Once they are clean, the beans sit on rotating beds for 48 to 72 hours. This dries the entire bean evenly and removes the traditional fermented taste of the beans and creates a milder more subtle taste. (source)
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee is fruity with soft floral tones and is the perfect choice for both hot and cold brews especially for making iced coffees in the summer. It is a mellow coffee with a mild flavor. If you don’t like strong coffee then this is a perfect choice.
How to brew Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee
Yirgacheffe is very versatile and can be hot or cold brewed.
Yirgacheffe coffee is ideally brewed in a metal filter as it allows more oils to pass. Paper filters can strain coffee grounds of their flavor. Therefore, the best way to brew Yirgacheffe coffee is by using a French Press or pour-over method.
Yirgacheffe is an ideal after-dinner coffee to drink with your dessert. It pairs beautifully with fruit dishes and is a match made in heaven for chocolate. If you prefer your coffee in the morning pair it with pancakes, french toast or donuts.
If you want to be truly authentic you could hold your own Ethiopian inspired coffee ceremony
The Ethiopians take their coffee very seriously and there is nothing more authentic than the traditional coffee ceremony. Check out the video below for a true taste of Ethiopia.
I don’t know about you but spending an hour gathering with your friends over coffee sounds perfect!