Altitude Range: 1,500 – 2,200 meters above sea level
Language Spoken: Amharic
Harvest: November – February
Annual Coffee Production: 6,600,000 bags
Common Varieties: Arabica, native heirloom varieties
Avg Farm Size: In general, small plantations
THE STORY OF COFFEE
THE BIRTH PLACE OF COFFEE
The Abyssinian goat herder, coming from the mountains of Kaffa, was herding hiding his goats in an area that highland area. He found they were acting oddly that day, hopping about in an exciting way, bleating loudly and practically bouncing on their hind legs. He discovered the cause of the commotion to be a small shrub (or, according to some stories, a small cluster of shrubs) with bright red berries. Curiosity got the best of him, and he tried the berries for himself.
Kaldi, like his goats, felt energized by the coffee cherries. He hurried home to his wife after filling his pockets with the red berries, and she urged him to go to the nearby monastery and share these "heaven-sent" berries with the monks there.
Kaldi's coffee beans were met with contempt rather than elation when they arrived at the monastery. One monk referred to Kaldi's bounty as "the Devil's job," and threw it into the flames. However, legend has it that the scent of roasting beans was enough to convince the monks to give this novelty a second chance. They took the coffee beans from the flames, crushed them to extinguish the embers, and covered them with hot water in an ewer to protect them.
The fragrance of the coffee drew the attention of all the monks in the monastery, who came to sample it. Similar to the tea-drinking Buddhist monks of China and Japan, these monks discovered that coffee's energizing effects helped them stay awake during their spiritual practice (in this case, prayer and holy devotions). They promised to drink this newfound beverage every day as a help to their religious devotions from then on.
Coffee production in Ethiopia goes back at least to the fifteenth century, going back thousands of years. Coffea arabica, the coffee plant, is found in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is currently supplying over 3% of the world's coffee. Around 60% of the country's foreign currency comes from coffee, and about 15 million people rely on coffee production for their livelihood. We all have to look at what was, see where we've been, and look toward where we're going.
ETHIOPIAN COFFEE CEREMONY
The Ethiopian coffee ceremony is a crucial part of the social and cultural lives of the people of the Ethiopians. A good cup of coffee is a sign of friendship and gratitude in Ethiopia. Any visitor can find the ceremony mandatory almost everywhere, regardless of the time or whether it is performed or not. While the special ceremony can seem short, it may actually take several hours. Please sit back and savour this, as it won't be fast.