Sidamo region, Ethiopia
The home of Arabica and the Coffee Garden
In stark contrast with today, when I first went to Ethiopia in December 2004 it was a country fairly unknown to seekers of specialty coffee. Waking up in a rather dilapidated hotel, I remember I noticed that our off-road vehicle had a punctured tyre, so I called the driver to see to it.
Shortly afterwards, while I was enjoying the landscape of a world immersed in coffee, in the bracing cold morning typical of Sidamo and Yrgacheffe, our guide arrived: Abdallah Bagersh, Yemeni by origin and Ethiopian from three generations of coffee vendors and tasters. When asked where our off-road vehicle was, I tried to explain in my bad English. After a few unsuccessful attempts, his eyes lit up and he exclaimed in Italian “gommista!!” (tyre shop). I discovered then that, although Italy had colonised Ethiopia for only a few years and quite badly, the Amharic language had absorbed certain Italian words, especially those related to cars, underwear and table football, all items that were introduced during the colonisation period!
A fine selection made by Abdallah Bagersh
Where does the coffee we have selected come from?
In Ethiopia, motherland to the Coffea Arabica, in the Sidamo (or Sidama) region, in the South of the country, two very famous coffees are produced: Sidamo in the northern part, around the city of Yrgalem, and Yrgacheffe in the southern part, around the city of Yrgacheffe.
These two coffees are referred to as “garden coffees”, because all the producers are very small and their entire, limited production can be grown in a garden!
The Bagersh family, native of Yemen, has been dealing with coffee for three generations. Abullah Bagersh is an excellent taster and very fond of his job. After communism and the imperialist period, during which all the Ethiopian coffees were listed in the New York stock exchange, as Djimmah grade 5, regardless their quality and area of origin, Abdullah decided to boost his family business, counting on quality coffee.
How is this coffee produced
Since we first met in 2004, we have established a great relationship of mutual respect. In that occasion, while tasting coffee together with Abdullah, we thought of creating a special selection of Sidamo coffees, made specially for us.
Once the small farmers have harvested their coffee, they deliver it to the “washing stations”, where the beans are wet processed. The coffee is then sent, still wrapped in parchment, to daily auctions organised by the government, where exporters must select and buy the quantities they need. Soon after that, the coffee bought by Adullah is further selected in order to obtain our special selection.
- Botanical variety: Typica
- Processing: washed, in fermentation tanks
- Harvest: November-December
- Drying: sun dried, on suspended beds
- Altitude: 1.600 – 1.900 m asl
- Quality/screen: grade 2 specially selected for us (selection CMI)