Ethiopia is the birth place of coffee and one of the prominent organic coffee grower in the world.
There are four types of coffee production systems in Ethiopia: forest coffee, semi-forest coffee, garden coffee and plantation coffee. Ninety five percent of the coffee produced under these systems is considered to be organic.
There are many factors that contribute to the quality of Ethiopian coffee, mainly man and nature. Natural factors include altitude, duration and severity of rainfall, type of soil, genetic origin, location of producing area and so forth. Ethiopian coffees have the genetic make-up and sturdiness to grow and spread with very little human interference. This means that there is not much need for pesticides and fertilizers, making them naturally organic.
The type and grade of coffee is highly diverse in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is the producer for the several renowned varieties of coffee including Sidama, Yirgacheffe, jimma and Harar. Apart from these, there are several other famous varieties that Ethiopia produces. The Ethiopian coffee is processed in two ways, washed processing and the sundried processing.
Coffee prices exhibit high inter year variations from season to season. These variations are a combined effect of the factors reflecting domestic supply and the periodic trends of the global coffee demand and supply situations. Also the variation can be seen between different varieties and grades of the coffee also. Some varieties like the yeirgacheffe and sidama command considerable premium in the International markets.
It is difficult to make generalizations about the flavor of Ethiopian coffee. Each coffee growing region is home to unique flavors.
If one had to make some broad generalizations about Ethiopian coffee- keeping in mind that there are many exceptions to the role- one can say the following: Ethiopian coffees tend to be grown at middle high to very high altitudes resulting in a hard bean type with intense flavors and aromatics. Fruit flavors are common in all regions, through the specific fruit character varies from region to region. Berry aromatics are relatively common as are citrus and chocolate Ethiopian coffees can be full-bodied (natural Grade 4 Limu, for instance) or light in body (washed Grade 1 Yirgacheffee, for instance), but in either case the mouthful of top quality Ethiopian coffees I generally smooth and pleasing.
Ethiopia grows and exports only Arabica coffee, not rubusta.