2012-07-19 11:21:40 - Traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremonies unfold in a specific yet leisurely manner. The host hand-washes green coffee beans, roasts them in a pan over a charcoal stove, grinds them with a mortar and pestle and brews the coffee, before straining and serving it. And....
6GIt’s considered rude to leave before the third cup, called “baraka” (meaning “blessed. To really understand what the ceremony is about, ”you have to be a part of the circle” and take part, says Tebabu Assefa, co-founder of Blessed Coffee, a “benefit corporation” (a nonprofit/for-profit hybrid) that aims to connect the local community with a cooperative of 200,000 Ethiopian coffee farmers.
The best place to experience a coffee ceremony is at the home of an Ethiopian family; restaurants in the U.S. don’t typically offer them, Assefa says. He hopes to change that when Blessed Coffee opens a cafe in Takoma Park, Md., within the next six months.
Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee: it is in the forests of the Kaffa
region that coffea arabica grew wild. Coffee is "Bun" or "Buna" in Ethiopia, so Coffee Bean is quite possibly a poor anglicized interpretation of "Kaffa Bun". Coffea Arabica was also found in the Harar region quite early, either brought from the Kaffa forests or found closer by. It is entirely possible that slaves taken from the forests chewed coffee berry and spread it into the Harar region, through which the Muslim slave trade route passed.
Ethiopian coffees are available from some regions as dry-processed, from some regions as washed, and from Sidamo as both! The difference between the cup profiles of the natural dry-processed vs. the washed is profound. Washed Sidamo, Yirgacheffe and Limmu have lighter body and less earthy / wild tastes in the cup as their dry-processed kinfolk. Ethiopian coffee reminds me more and more of fresh produce, because when you find a really great coffee like the dry-processed Koratie, it is like eating Michigan peaches at the height of the season. The flavors are amazing, and when it is gone, it is gone. If all the factors line up just right, it might be the same next year, maybe not.
Ethiopian coffees can vary greatly from lot to lot. It takes A lot of cupping to find the specific lot of coffee that is superior. MAO Horse exports a lot of coffee, but each year one specific "chop" (lot number) out-cups the others. Since lots differ in character, and i do so much to find the best lot, we are now listing the Lot Number in the description of the coffee. When i find that coffee, I buy the majority of the year's coffee immediately, leaving a small opening in case any other good lots come along later in the season. But my experience has been that early shipments of the DP Ethiopians are often the best of the season, in contradiction to many other origins where the earliest are often underdeveloped, lower-grown coffees and the mid-crop pickings are better.
Organic supplies have been good, and a few lots have been outstanding. Here's an interesting article outlining the producers' hopes for the budding Organic Ethiopian coops.