Ethiopia is considered to be the place of origin of Arabica coffee. It is the main export product of the country, and when visiting Ethiopia it soon becomes clear that the daily lives of the people here are embedded with everything COFFEE.
There are many coffee plantations where coffee is grown for export, but a lot of people also go out into the forest to look for wild forest coffee and to collect other forest products such as berries and firewood. We’ve met some of them on our way through the semi-natural coffee forests…
When driving through a coffee plantation during a flowering event, the sweet and wonderful smell takes you by surprise! The shrubs blossom between January and April, but one single flower only blooms for 1 to 3 days. After the flowers are fertilized by bees, butterflies and other insects, a green berry starts to grow. When it turns red, the berry is ripe for picking. (Although many forest gatherers use the black dried berries that have already fallen to the ground.) After collection, the berries are sun-dried and grinded to extract the coffee beans, which are in fact the seeds. The beans are washed and dried in the sun for a few days up to a week. They’re now ready for mass export or for being sold within the country. The local people roast, grind and prepare the coffee at home. Freshly roasted coffee.. a smell typical while strolling through the streets of Ethiopia. 🙂
Here’s the process step by step: