In the Harrar region of northwest Ethiopia, the traditional process of drying coffee in its cherry--on tree, roadside, or patio--is still quite prevalent. What results is a fruity, wild coffee of sweet and slightly fermented complexity reminiscent of coffees from Yemen. This is often referred to as the “Mocha” taste, after the port of Mocha on Yemen’s Red Sea coast. Because of this taste profile, some coffees from Harrar are sold as Mocha (or Moka), which can be set one wondering about country of origin. To help allay that confusion, some retailers call a Mocha-type Ethiopian “Moka/Mocha Harrar.” And to further complicate matters, alternative spellings abound. For Harrar, these may be Harari, Harar, or Harer.
In Harrar as in the Yirgacheffe region, most coffees are “garden” coffees, so-called because they are literally grown in people’s gardens or back yards by traditional methods of cultivation, or gathered from wild-growing plants in the area.