Ethiopian coffee has held a place of distinction at Batdorf & Bronson® since its founding. Naturally-processed Harar continues to be a staple for us as a single origin offering and an extremely important blending component. It is consistently a favorite among employees and customers alike. Other Ethiopian coffees from Yirgacheffe, Sidamo, Limu, and Djimma have made repeat appearances over the years and can be some of the world’s most distinct and engaging coffees.
In all my years of traveling for work, visiting coffee farms and mills outside of the United States, I’ve never made it to this most mystical of coffee places. Until now. I’m leaving on Saturday for my first trip to Ethiopia and I’m very excited!
I have been invited to participate in a roundtable conference to discuss the recent diminishing of the trademark flavors of Ethiopian Harar coffee. The conference is sponsored by a US consulting firm in collaboration with USAID Agribusiness and Trade Expansion Program; attendees will include exporters, importers, roasters, consultants, producers, agronomists, marketers, and state dignitaries. Scheduled to last four days in the town of Dire Dawa, in the Harar region, the conference will include lectures, presentations, cupping sessions, tours, and discussions. I’m anticipating the discussions: Can the true flavor of Harar coffee be revived? Is it really gone? What can be done to address the current quality of Harar coffee? How can we develop new strategies for marketing coffee from Harar? How can increased demand for Harar coffee worldwide translate into quality improvements? We’ll see.
After the conference I will be linking up with a smaller group of U.S. coffee people and heading south to explore the growing regions of Sidamo and Yirgacheffe. Together with Harar these regions make up the most important coffee producing areas in the country. I anticipate lots of windshield time, many miles of walking, and hundreds of cups of coffee.
I expect my first visit to the birthplace of coffee to be nothing less than a magical experience, and can’t wait to relate it all to you!