Legend has it that coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia in the 1600s by a goat herder named Kaldi. It is believed that he observed his goats eating berries from a certain tree and that they became so energetic that they did not go to sleep that night. Kaldi told the abbot of a local monastery about what he had observed with his goats.
The abbot, somehow, made a drink with some of the berries and found that after drinking it, he was able to stay alert during the long hours of evening prayer. Word of this super berry spread quickly and coffee; not quite as we know it today, was born. Coffee grown worldwide can trace its heritage back centuries to the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau. Ethiopia’s coffee landscape is incredibly diverse, with an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 distinct coffee varietals. This rich diversity is due to the country’s unique geography, climate, and the indigenous nature of coffee in the region.
I share this history with you because the varietal of coffee tree that produced the beans in Queen City Harrar is Ethiopian heirloom. As plants go, “heirloom” is used to identify plant varieties passed down through generations. These varieties are preserved for their distinct traits, flavor, aroma, or resistance to pests and diseases. In the context of Ethiopian coffee, the term “heirloom” describes the numerous indigenous coffee varietals cultivated in the country for centuries. While coffee in other parts of the world was introduced, in Ethiopia it evolved naturally.
When pondering which of our coffees to purchase, many of you have asked me which one is my favorite. Typically, my answer is that we haven’t yet brought it in. This Queen City Harrar just might have changed my mind. It is, by far, one of the absolute best coffees I have ever had. The body of this coffee just wraps itself around your mouth. It is of above average sweetness that only adds to its goodness, but I think what grabs me the most when drinking this coffee is the dried fruit flavor note that we have not experienced with other coffees. Other notes you may taste are dark chocolate and cherry. What a wonderful blend of flavor notes. The photo is of the Ethiopian highlands landscape. Photo credit: bigcupofcoffee.com