Coffee’s origin is shrouded in mystery but is thought to have begun in Ethiopia, where heirloom varieties still grow wild beside the road. As the story goes, a drowsy goatherder 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 still unique. More than half of the coffee is called garden coffee, because it’s grown in the yards of producers, along with crops such as beans, bananas, avocadoes, and mangoes. Around 50 million Ethiopians are supported by the coffee industry, and almost 70% of the national export earnings come from coffee.
While there is an overarching Ethiopian coffee characteristic (blueberries and lemon curd, many say), each region has its own unique flavor profile, and Yirgacheffe with its distinctive floral and citrus notes has its own mystique.