Ethiopian Coffee

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:

Coffee shrubs in Ethiopia mass-flowering for 1-3 days (c) Siel Wellens, 2016

Coffee shrubs in Ethiopia mass-flowering for 1-3 days © Siel Wellens, 2016

Coffee flower is being pollinated by a honey bee © Siel Wellens, 2016

The fertilized flowers slowly grow into berries, when ripe they will turn red (c) Siel Wellens, 2016

The fertilized flowers slowly grow into berries, when ripe they will turn red © Siel Wellens, 2016

The coffee berries turn red © Jan Mertens, 2015

After being hand-picked, the coffee berries dry up in the sun until they’re brown-black © Siel Wellens, 2016

The berries are grinded to extract the coffee beans, after being washed the beans are dried in the sun, after this they’re ready for export or selling to the Ethiopian people © Siel Wellens, 2016

The Ethiopian women will roast the coffee beans at home on a wood fire (c) Siel Wellens, 2016

The Ethiopian women will roast the coffee beans at home on a wood fire © Siel Wellens, 2016

The roasted coffee beans are left to cool down (c) Siel Wellens, 2016

The roasted coffee beans are left to cool off © Siel Wellens, 2016

The Ethiopian women grind the freshly roasted coffee beans to powder with a mortar and pestle © Siel Wellens, 2016

Freshly brewed coffee is poured into small cups and served to visitors © Lore Geeraert, 2015

 

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3 responses to “Ethiopian Coffee

  1. Pingback: Kaffee in Kaffa, Grabbing in Gambela | akihart·

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