Some 460 km to the southwest of Addis Ababa, we find the Kaffa zone. Here wild Arabica coffee flourishes in the volcanic soils of the forest understory, high on the slopes of the surrounding mountains. Small wonder that the air is heavy with the scent of coffee flowers--like and yet not at all like jasmine and orange flowers.
Coffee’s origin is shrouded in mystery but is believed to have begun in Ethiopia. As the story goes, a drowsy goat herder named Kaldi noticed his goats were perkier after nibbling on the coffee trees, and tried the cherry for himself. Caffeine was discovered, and coffee’s epic began.
The coffee-growing culture in Ethiopia is unique. More than half of the coffee is called ‘garden coffee’, because it’s grown in the yards of producers, not “farmed.,” and though there’s an overarching Ethiopian coffee characteristic (blueberries and lemon curd, many say), each region has its own unique flavor profile.