Yirgacheffe/Ethiopia (Bags of Coffee)
Medium body and low acidity, with a clean taste and vibrant finish. The coffee beans are organically grown and fairly traded, and air roasted in small batches in Lancaster, Pa.
Altitude: 2000-2200 masl
Processing: Washed and dried on raised beds
Varietal: Ethiopian Heirloom
Ethiopia is one of the world’s oldest countries. This land-locked republic is the largest country on the Horn of Africa, with the largest population in the region. The land consists of highlands and lowlands both west and east, with the Great Rift Valley in the middle of the country. Half of the country’s GDP consists of agriculture, and coffee is its most important export. The Sidama region is the leading coffee-producing region of Ethiopia, despite being one of the country’s smallest regional states. Ethiopian people have a cultural tradition of beginning important events with a coffee ceremony. The Sidama region stretches across the rugged mountains of Bensa to the valleys of Dale and Aleta Wendo, which provide a range of quality profiles that exemplify this wealth of production landscapes.
Coffee originates from Ethiopia. (Yemen also claims the origin of coffee.) “Kaffa” was the first name for coffee, because it was discovere in the Kaffa region of southwest Ethiopia, where it grew in the wild. To this day, unlike many other coffee-producing regions of the world, coffee grows naturally in Ethiopia. Coffee accounts for about 70% of the country's earnings from exports, and nearly one-quarter of Ethiopians earn their living growing coffee. Coffee growers throughout Ethiopia, range in size from a handful of trees in a family’s garden to a whole hillside forested by wild coffee plants. Ethiopians love coffee, and the country drinks about half of the amount they produce each year. That’s a lot of coffee: after all, Ethiopia is the top coffee producer in Africa, and currently fifth in the world. Coffees produced by SCFCU member cooperatives are shade grown in low densities under the canopies of indigenous trees and enset (false banana), a staple food crop for Sidama families.
Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (SCFCU) was founded in 2001 to represent coffee producing cooperatives located throughout the Sidama Zone of southern Ethiopia both locally and in international markets. Today, SCFCU has grown to represent 51 cooperatives and more than 76,000 small-scale farmer families, making SCFCU the second largest Coffee Farmer Cooperative Union in Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian legend of how coffee was discovered
Kaldi, an Ethiopian goat herder (circa 850 AD) noticed that his goats danced wildly after they ate the fruit off of coffee trees. He was amazed by the “magic” beans, so he brought some home with him. Kaldi took some of his “magic” beans to a monk, and told him about them. The monk threw the beans into the fire, believing that their “magic” was from the devil. The fire roasted the beans, and the room filled with the aroma of fresh-roasted coffee. (Much later in time, people began to drink a brew of roasted coffee beans.)