Ethiopia is a country shrouded in mystery, not least because of the general consensus that it was the first country to consume coffee. Legend tells of the goatherd Kaldi who discovered coffee after his goats ate the berries and became so energised that they were unable to sleep at night.

This may well be an apocryphal tale, but there is also likely to be some truth in it, especially as the Ethiopians started enjoying coffee as a food by way of its fruit. However, they gradually began to consume it as the beverage we drink today and coffee from Ethiopia is so diverse that it never ceases to amaze people.

What makes Ethiopia so compelling is the variety of coffees that it produces, all with their fruity, floral flavour. Yet despite being the birthplace of coffee, interest in Ethiopia as an exporter was limited until the 19th century, but it is one of the world’s top coffee producers. Now however, its coffee-growing regions are among the most recognisable in the world:


Trademarked by the Ethiopian government in 2004, Sidamo produces a mix of washed and naturally processed coffees that offer consumers a fruity, aromatic cup, including Guji.

Altitude: 1,400 – 2,200m (4,600-7,200ft)

Harvest: October-January

Varieties: Heirloom varieties


The washed coffees from this region are renowned for being extremely aromatic and full of citrus and floral notes with a light and elegant body.

Altitude: 1,750-2,200m (5,750-7,200ft)

Harvest: October-January

Varieties: Heirloom varieties


One of the oldest coffee producing regions, coffee from Harrar often requires extra irrigation. With its unusual spicy berry taste, as a result of being sundried, these coffees emphasise the diversity of coffee flavour.

Altitude: 1,500-2,100m (4,900-6,900ft)

Harvest: October-February

Varieties: Heirloom varieties

Find out more about the subtle nuances in coffee from different origins in Gallery 1 at the House of Coffee & Co.