Ethiopian coffee fact

Ethiopia is the world’s seventh largest producer of Arabica coffee, and Africa’s top producer, with 282,000 metric tonnes in 2021/22 . Half of the coffee is consumed by Ethiopians, and the country leads the African continent in domestic consumption. The major markets for Ethiopian coffee are the EU (about half of exports), East Asia (about a quarter) and North America. The total area used for coffee cultivation is estimated to be about 4,000 km2 (1,500 sq mi). The exact size is unknown due to the fragmented nature of the coffee farms.  The way of production has not changed much, with nearly all work, cultivating and drying, still done by hand.

World competitive Landscape

The Ethiopian coffee market is fragmented and highly competitive, with the presence of local and global players operating across the country. Thus, in order to sustain their positions in the market, the active players are bringing innovations in packaging and product offerings to cater to consumers’ increasing demand for coffee. Some of the key players in the Ethiopian coffee market are Cooper’s Cask Coffee Company, Starbucks Corporation, Nestle SA, Klatch Coffee, and Kalbe International. Key players are now focusing on social media platforms and online marketing and branding of their products to attract more customers. Also, major players such as Starbucks have mainly focused on partnerships and collaborations with other emerging players and new product launches.

Major Players

Starbucks Corporation

Cooper’s Cask Coffee Company

Klatch Coffee

Nestle SA

Kalbe International

Ethiopian coffee beans that are grown in either the HararYirgacheffe or Limu regions. They are kept apart and marketed under their regional name. These regional varieties are trademarked names with the rights owned by Ethiopia.

Global Coffee market

The global coffee market is segmented into two types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is more preferred by consumers for its sweet taste and more complex flavour. It is widely used in black coffee. On the other hand, Robusta is much cheaper and stronger because of its high caffeine contain then Arabica. It’s mostly used in espresso.  Ethiopia produces the Arabica coffee brand.

Strong Production Base in the Country

In Ethiopia, Arabica coffee is mostly grown in the forest areas of the southwestern highlands of the Kaffa and Buno districts. In Ethiopia, coffee is cultivated across around 400,000 hectares of area. The country produces almost 200,000 metric ton of coffee every year. 95% of the coffee is produced in the forest area and is claimed to be organic. A major share of Ethiopian coffee is exported in green coffee beans form to the rest of the world. This factor gives a key advantage to Ethiopian coffee in the international market. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the production of coffee increased from 7055 thousand 60 kg bags in 2017 to 7620 thousand 60 kg bags in 2021.

Beans

Ethiopian coffee beans of the species Coffea arabica can be divided into three categories: Longberry, Shortberry, and Mocha. Longberry varieties consist of the largest beans and are often considered of the highest quality in both value and flavour. Shortberry varieties are smaller than the Longberry beans but, are considered a high grade bean in Eastern Ethiopia where it originates. Also the Mocha variety is a highly prized commodity. Mocha Harars are known for their peaberry beans that often have complex chocolate, spice and citrus notes.

Sidamo

It is very likely that in and around this region is where coffee had its origins. Sidamo coffee is well-balanced with cupping notes exhibiting berries and citrus with complex acidity. The coffee hails from the province of Sidamo in the Ethiopian highlands at elevations from 1,500 up to 2,200 meters above sea level. At these elevations the coffee beans can be qualified as “Strictly High Grown” (SHG). Here the Ethiopian coffees grow more slowly and therefore have more time to absorb nutrients and develop more robust flavors based on the local climate and soil conditions. The most distinctive flavour notes found in all Sidamo coffees are lemon and citrus with bright crisp acidity. Sidamo coffee includes Yirgachefe Coffee and Guji Coffee. Both coffee types are very high quality.

Genika

“Ethiopia Genika” is a type of Arabica coffee of single origin grown exclusively in the Bench of Ethiopia. Like most African coffees, Ethiopia Guraferda features a small and greyish bean, yet is valued for its deep, spice and wine or chocolate-like taste and floral aroma.

Harar

Harar is in the Eastern highlands of Ethiopia. It is one of the oldest coffee beans still produced and is known for its distinctive fruity, wine flavour. The shells of the coffee bean are used in a tea called hasher-qahwa. The bean is medium in size with a greenish-yellowish colour. It has medium acidity and full body and a distinctive mocha flavour. Harar is a dry processed coffee bean with sorting and processing done almost entirely by hand. Though processing is done by hand, the laborers are extremely knowledgeable of how each bean is categorized.

History

About 1,000 years ago, coffee was a goatherd in Ethiopia southwestern highlands. It was discovered in Kaffa area where it first blossom gave its name to coffee. It believed that coffee cultivation and drinking began as early as the 9th century in Ethiopia. It cultivated Yemen earlier, around AD 575. While, it originated in Ethiopia, from where it traveled to the Yemen about 600 years ago, and from Arabia began its journey around the world. Among the many legends, Kaldi, an Abyssinian goatherd, who lived around AD 850 found the origin of coffee.

The most famous story was that of the goat herd, Kaldi (who lived around 9th century) who observed his normally docile goats had suddenly behaved exceptionally lively, skipping, rearing and bleating loudly after eating the bright red berries from a shiny dark-leaved shrub nearby and that Kaldi tried a few berries himself and soon felt extraordinary, stimulated or a novel sense of elation. Ethiopian cultural ceremonies and rituals were using the beans in early periods of domestication as a stimulant and a special solid food, for instance, the ripe berries were squashed, combined with animal fats and shaped in to balls, which can be carried and eaten during the long journey since the time immemorial by Oromo people.