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Monday, December 22, 2014

Kaldi, a goat herder who lived in Ethiopia accidentally discovered coffee

The African country of Ethiopia manufactures the most distinctive and captivating coffees in the world.  Legend has it that Kaldi, a goat herder who lived in Ethiopia, accidentally discovered coffee.


Ethiopia is the world’s fifth largest coffee producer and Africa’s top producer. Coffee is Ethiopia's principal source of income and the worlds demand for quality coffee is increasing steadily. In Ethiopia, coffee can still be found growing wild in the forests. Ethiopia is where the coffee plants Coffea Arabica, Canephora and Liberica originates. The African country, Ethiopia manufactures the for the most part the most distinctive and captivating coffees on the plant. Three main coffee growing regions are Harrar, Ghimbi, and Sidamo also known as Yirgacheffe.
 Sampling Coffee Beans
Photo by DFID UK Department for International Development

Ethiopian Yirgacheffee coffee may also be labeled as Sidamo, which is the district where it is produced. The Ethiopian Yirgacheffee coffee bean is the most favored coffee grown in southern Ethiopia and is serene and aromatic.

Ethiopian Harrar coffee beans are grown on small farms in the eastern part of the country. They are dry-processed and are labeled as longberry, shortberry, or peaberry. Ethiopian Harrar coffee can have a strong dry edge, winy to fruit like acidity, rich aroma, and a heavy body. Ethiopian Harrar coffee is frequently used in espresso blends.


Ethiopian Ghimbi is produced in Western Ethiopia. Ghimbi has a pleasant fruity flavor. It is greenish to brownish in color with good acidity and body. Ethiopian Ghimbi coffee is traditional dry-processed coffee with a very robust favor that stays with you for a while due to its bold taste. Dry-processed coffee is processed by drying the coffee cherry in the sun, following which the outer and parchment skins are removed in one milling process.

Legend has it that coffee was accidentally discovered by Kaldi, a goat herder who lived in Ethiopia. One day, Kaldi observed his herd of goats chewing on red cherries from a tree he had never noticed before, after which they became energized.  After trying them himself, Kaldi brought the cherries to a local monastery, where the monks tossed them in the fire as they disapproved of the idea of using the strange fruit. Instead of burning the beans, it actually roasted them. Those roasted beans were used to create the first coffee.
Coffee Beans Growing on a Small Farm
Photo by advencap

Ethiopia currently has an estimated population of 94 million people with 15 million or 16% of the population depends on coffee for their means of income. Coffee is Ethiopia's most important cash crop and largest export commodity. In 2001, Ethiopia's Federal Cooperative Commission opened its coffee export market to direct participation of farming communities. What does that mean? It means, coffee grower cooperatives can sell directly to export markets allowing their unions to negotiate Fairtrade agreements, research and comprehensive training and education for Ethiopian cooperative leaders, particularly women and youths.

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