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Ethiopian Coffee Guide: Types, Facts & Brewing

What Makes Ethiopian Coffee Different?

What Makes Ethiopian Coffee Different?

For starters, Ethiopia has been producing coffee for hundreds of years. Ethiopia itself is where the coffea arabica plant comes from, and around 60% of the world’s coffee production comes from the plant. 

But what makes Ethiopian coffee beans so special? Ethiopian coffee beans make a brew with a more complex taste and a silkier texture. The flavours are also brighter, with notes of citrus. Think delicate, but full-flavoured.

In terms of taste and quality, Ethiopian coffee is one of the best types of single-origin coffee in the world. If that doesn’t make you want to grab some, we don’t know what will!

How Many Types of Ethiopian Coffee are There?

A lot. And the best way to distinguish them is through their regions. Ethiopia has a few notable regions that produce coffee. It’s also worth mentioning that, like a lot of other coffee beans, these coffees can be single-origin or made into coffee blends. The price varies depending on which type you get.

  • Sidamo
  • Sidamo, or Sidame coffee, is believed to be where coffee originated from. These Ethiopian coffee beans are known to have lemony notes and an acidic taste. 

    Sidamo is also where high-quality beans like Yirgachefe coffee and Guji coffee come from. A lot of people will actually distinguish both Yirgachefe and Guji as standalone coffee growers for their popularity and unique taste. Yirgachefe might also be one of the most popular ones among the regions!

  • Harrar 
  • Harrar coffee is another favourite among coffee lovers. Ethiopian coffee beans from the Harrar region are grown in high altitudes. This gives the coffee citrus and floral notes, similar to other natural Ethiopian coffees, but with more richness and intensity.

    A little fun fact - the coffee shells from the beans are used to make a popular Ethiopian drink called hasher-qahwa. It is a traditional tea made by boiling coffee bean shells in milk.

  • Genika
  • Coffee grown in this region is sometimes known as Ethiopia Genika, a type of single-origin Arabica coffee. These Ethiopian coffee beans are small and greyish in appearance, but they have deep flavours reminiscent of chocolate and wine. Some coffee drinkers also note that this natural Ethiopian coffee has some spicy notes to it.

    Genika coffee can only be found in the Bench Maji Zone of Ethiopia. Bench Sheko, also known as Bench Maji, produces tons of coffee beans. When we say tons, we don’t just mean a lot. We actually mean literal tons - it’s Bench Sheko’s primary agriculture!

    How Do I Brew Natural Ethiopian Coffee Beans?

    How Do I Brew Natural Ethiopian Coffee Beans?

    Before we really dive into the different methods you can try, we think that some of the best teachers are your local baristas! Getting a cup prepared by your local coffee shop will give you an idea of what to look for in terms of taste. Think of it as your benchmark. Drink your coffee, savour the aroma, get the flavours, and take notes of what you like.

    Afterwards, maybe ask the barista how they did it and what method they used. If your barista recommends getting some heavy equipment and niche tools to do the job, that might be too excessive for the home brewer. If you’re used to making coffee at home, the brewing tips we give might be right up your tool house!

    The Cold Brew Method

    First up on the list is using the cold brew method. Coffee can be refreshing, too! Cold brewing coffee requires minimal preparation and effort. You only need a filter or strainer and a large pitcher of some kind. It’s also easy to get the hang of, but it does require patience. A good ratio to start with is mixing one part of Ethiopian coffee with 4 parts of water.

    Here’s where patience comes into play. Let your cold brew mixture sit for about 12 to 18 hours. We don’t recommend going over that because it will affect the outcome of the coffee.

    After achieving the sweet spot of time, filter out the beans and what you’ll end up with is delicious Ethiopian cold brew coffee! Keep it refrigerated if you want it cold. Otherwise, just pour over some ice and enjoy.

    The French Press Method

    The French Press Method

    The French Press is a quick and easy method for those who are always busy. This method allows the ground Ethiopian coffee beans to be brewed, or immersed, in hot water before serving. The Ethiopian coffee doesn’t sit for a long time, though. A 30-second bloom with a max of about 4 minutes immersion should do the trick.

    What’s the ratio for a French Press brew? 1:12. 12 parts of water for every 1 part of coffee. If you’ve added 1 gram of Ethiopian coffee, you’ll need 12 ml of water. If you want a more detailed guide for using the French Press, just follow this wonderful link

    The Pour-Over Method

    A lot of coffee brewers swear by the use of pour-overs. It can take a while before you get the hang of it but once you do, you’ll thank yourself for every good brew you make. Some see making pour-over coffee as a science and even use a timer and a scale to make the perfect cup in the morning.

    It seems like a lot, but making pour-over Ethiopian coffee can be a zen experience. It’s a great way to get some concentration before you tackle the day! The recommended ratio of coffee to water is 1:16. Once your coffee and water have been weighed out, you can get your brew started.

    A good pour-over coffee allows for blooming and adding of water at specific intervals. If you want a more detailed guide, you’ll find that here. The overall brewing time actually lasts for just 3 to 4 minutes - which is why some prefer to use a dedicated timer!

    Wrapping Things Up…

    Wrapping Things Up…

    Ethiopian coffee can be brewed just like the coffee you’re already used to brewing. Sometimes, it’s best to get a cup prepared to find out what you should be looking for. For beginners, that may seem daunting, but it’s all worth it once you get the hang of it. You’ll be brewing Ethiopian coffee beans with confidence in no time!

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