Delicate floral, stewed fruits, cranberries, lime and caramel.
Region: Uraga, Guji
Altitude: 2250-2300 masl
Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopian
Among coffee-producing countries, Ethiopia holds near-legendary status not only because it’s regarded as the “birthplace” of Arabica coffee, but also because it is simply unlike every other place in the coffee world. Unlike the vast majority of coffee-growing countries, the plant was not introduced as a cash crop through colonization. Instead, growing, processing, and drinking coffee is part of the everyday way of life, and has been for centuries, since the trees were discovered growing wild in forests and eventually cultivated for household use and commercial sale.
The majority of Ethiopia’s farmers are smallholders and sustenance farmers, with less than 1 hectare of land apiece; in many cases it is almost more accurate to describe the harvests as “garden coffee,” as the trees do sometimes grow in more of a garden or forest environment than what we imagine fields of farmland to look like.
This washed coffee is an example of ‘garden coffee’ - various smallholder producers delivered cherries to the Uraga washing station for processing. In Uraga, coffee is grown on very small farms alongside corn, barley, beans, and wheat.