LOCATION - Limu, Western Ethiopia
ALTITUDE - 1800-2000 metres above sea-level
VARIETAL - Heirloom
PROCESS - Washed
OWNER - Haider Abamecha
TASTE - Black tea & jasmine with a lime and honey sweetness & a syrupy body.
CERTIFICATION - ORGANIC
Haider Abamecha has been in the coffee industry his entire life.
Slowly growing his businesses over the years to become one of Ethiopia’s largest suppliers to the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX). The farm was purchased 7 years ago as Haider realised the growing interest from specialty buyers for traceable quality coffees. The total land area of the farm is just shy of 1000 hectares with 532 hectares now in full production and certification with a further 400 hectares under development. The farm is located in a part of Limu that primarily consists of native forest reserve. Haider has maintained the natural feel of the forest by thinning the original land enough to allow adequate light through to the coffee. The diversity of birdlife, visible pig tracks and the prevalence of the Colobus monkey, is proof that the impact on the natural environment is minimal.
Ethiopia, widely acknowledged as the birthplace of coffee (to the chagrin of Yemen and Sudan, who have also laid claim), produces some of the most exceptional and dramatic coffees found anywhere in the world. The unique flavours offered by this spectacular country have, over the last 10 years, become some of the most sought after in speciality coffee.
Only Arabica coffee is cultivated in Ethiopia, but the variety of individual cultivars – many as yet growing wild and undiscovered – is unrivalled anywhere in the world. Furthermore, the sheer volume of coffee produced dwarves the output of Kenya and Tanzania at around 450,000 tonnes annually.
Coffee probably began to be exported from the country as early as the 17th century, though trade didn’t become significant until the 19th century. Today, one can’t overstate the importance of coffee to the country’s economy. An estimated 15 million Ethiopians are employed by the coffee industry, and Ethiopia is hugely reliant of coffee as a major source of revenue; it accounts for close to 70% of all export earnings.
There are three coffee ‘production systems’ used in Ethiopia:
Forest Coffees, where wild-grown coffee is harvested by the local population.
Garden Coffees, grown in small holder plots (usually measured in terms of trees rather than hectares) along with other crops;
Plantation Coffees, a very small percentage of Ethiopian coffee, grown on large estates. The vast majority of coffee in the country is produced using the Garden Coffee system.