Many a coffee connoisseur’s ’Ah ha’ coffee moment comes courtesy of an Ethiopian brew. The country enjoys such variety and such high quality that chancing upon something absolutely delicious – yet unlike anything you’ve tasted before – is quite feasible. If Willy Wonka designed a lucky dip of coffee, he could rely on Ethiopia alone for all the wonderful surprises he’d need.
This is partly because Ethiopia’s natural terroir practically demands coffee cultivation, but also because Ethiopians have been answering that call for such a long time. Try Ethiopian coffee beans and you’re tapping into coffee know-how built up over a millennium or more. Indeed, humanity’s own ‘Ah ha’ moment is said to have come when a ninth-century goatherd wondered why his animals got so lively after gorging themselves on a particular shrub…
That shrub was arabica, and we have Ethiopia to thank for the coffee species that today we cherish above all others. We may even have Ethiopia to thank for our favourite drink’s name, which is said to be linked to the province of Kaffa.
But Ethiopia is a triumph of coffee quality and quantity, exporting some four million sacks (often jute sacks!) each year. If you do choose jute Ethiopian coffee beans, you can rest safe in the knowledge that ours are ethically sourced through the Sheko Cooperative. Based in the country’s southwest, where ancient trees have shaded arabica plants for centuries, the cooperative takes its name from the Sheko people. Indigenous to the region, the Sheko’s influence on Ethiopia’s coffee heritage is immeasurable.
Hand-roasted in Northamptonshire, our 100% arabica Ethiopian single origin serves up flavours of plum, cocoa and nectarine. And, yes, it would be nice to do things the traditional Ethiopian way, roasting green coffee beans before serving the brew from your favourite jebena (coffee pot) over the course of a few hours – but we usually go for a long black.