The word Coffee finds it’s origins from a Town in Ethiopia Called Kaffaa, that is still a coffee-growing region. With the indigenous Coffea Arabica tree-dotted along the landscape, trips to this evergreen landscape usually stop in the area called Yirga Chefe, which literally means ‘fertile grass’.
The region certainly lives up to its name, producing some of the most prized coffees wold over. The country and is the origin of all other varietals that have since been created through cross-pollination or splicing by farmers and scientists around the world.
Around 5 million people involved in the coffee industry in Ethiopia, with most families in the region having at least a few coffee trees they can pick from. Before organized coffee wet mills were introduced in the 1970s they would be simply sun-dried and used themselves or to sell in the local market.
Coffee holds such a significant place in the heart of Ethiopia, they have a ceremony in honour of the drink, which has many parallels to the tea ceremonies of Japan. Often held daily it's not uncommon for this ceremony to take place up to three times a day in an Ethiopian household, especially over the weekends.
After young women, adorned in cultural dress toast green coffee beans, they meticulously trawl through the pan, ensuring only the finest beans make the cut. Afterwhich the coffee is slowly brewed over smouldering coals, gradually distilling the coffee. From here the host approaches the guests, sat behind a low table, to pour the coffee into the ‘sini’, traditional little cups, without handles. Traditionally coffee is served black, with liberal helpings of sugar, sometimes with a little soft twig of rue. Referred to in Amharic as Tena ‘Adam, which means ‘The health of Adam’, rue is an ancient medicinal herb that grows wild in most parts of Ethiopia.