Discover the Rich and Exquisite Flavors of Top Coffees From Ethiopia
Discover the rich and flavorful world of coffee with our guide to the top coffees from Ethiopia. With a long history of coffee cultivation and a unique coffee ceremony, Ethiopian coffee has gained worldwide recognition for its distinct taste and quality. From the famous Yirgacheffe to the lesser-known Sidamo and Keramo, we explore the best Ethiopian coffee beans and the best brewing methods to bring out their full flavor. Whether you're a coffee connoisseur or just beginning your journey into the world of coffee, join us as we delve into the fascinating world of Ethiopian coffee.
Ethiopian Sidamo | FRC
Freshly Roasted Coffee (FRC) specializes in sourcing and roasting high-quality coffee beans from around the world. One of their standout offerings is Ethiopian Sidamo, sourced from the Shoye Cooperative in Southern Ethiopia. This particular coffee boasts organic and fair-trade certification, making it a socially responsible choice for coffee enthusiasts.
The flavor profile of FRC's Ethiopian Sidamo is a harmonious blend of dark berry notes with a tangy kick of lemon, lime, and tangerine. I also detected subtle hints of blueberry, which helped to balance out any bitterness. The light roast of these beans imparts a smooth and creamy finish, accompanied by a pleasantly sweet taste.
When it comes to brewing, I personally found that using a French Press showcased the complex flavors of FRC's Ethiopian Sidamo the best. The longer extraction time of this method allows for a more pronounced flavor profile. I would not recommend using an espresso maker for brewing this particular light roast, as it may result in a weaker brew.
What sets FRC's Ethiopian Sidamo apart is its commitment to organic and fair-trade practices. As an avid coffee drinker, I appreciate knowing that my coffee beans uphold ethical standards. Additionally, the variety of flavors in these beans makes it a great choice for those looking to explore and expand their palate.
However, it is worth noting that FRC does not explicitly provide the roast date on their packaging. While they claim to roast the beans to order and ship them promptly, the exact roasting date is not confirmed. This lack of information may be a drawback for those who prioritize freshness. Furthermore, the lemon tea and fruity flavors of this coffee may be too sour for some individuals, particularly those with sensitive stomachs.
Ethiopian Keramo | Coffee Bros
Coffee Bros is a coffee roasting company founded by two brothers in Queens, New York. Their Ethiopian Keramo beans are sourced from the Keramo Village in Sidama, Bensa, and represent the finest lots available. Coffee Bros ensures that these 100% Arabica beans are shipped immediately after harvest, guaranteeing freshness and quality.
The Ethiopian Keramo from Coffee Bros is a light-roasted micro-lot coffee, known for its unique flavor profile specific to its growing region. The natural maturation process and light roast impart floral notes and a bright acidity to the coffee. Surprisingly, despite being a lighter roast, I detected hints of chocolate and blackberry, which added complexity to the brew.
In terms of brewing methods, I found that a pour over brought out the best flavors in Coffee Bros' Ethiopian Keramo. This method allowed the true character of the beans to shine through, while retaining the desired light roast profile. On the other hand, using a French Press or an espresso maker resulted in a less impactful flavor experience.
What impressed me about Coffee Bros' Ethiopian Keramo was its affordability compared to other Ethiopian coffees on the market. The unexpected chocolate and blackberry notes in a lighter roast made it a unique and enjoyable choice. However, due to its strong coffee taste and bitterness, these beans may not be suitable for beginner coffee drinkers or those who prefer sweeter flavors.
Ethiopian Ormia Harrar | Out Of The Grey
Out of the Grey is a small-scale coffee roaster based in Virginia, USA. They source their beans from the Cooperative Union of the Oromia Coffee Farmers, founded by 35 organic-certified farmers from Yirgacheffe. These premium quality beans are grown at high altitudes amidst a backdrop of trees and various crops.
The Ethiopian Ormia Harrar from Out Of The Grey offers a unique flavor profile with hints of raw honey, lychee, and orange zest. Unlike many other Ethiopian coffees, this brew has a creamy chocolate undertone, which adds an interesting twist. I also detected subtle floral nectar notes, giving it a pleasant and delicate touch.
In terms of brewing methods, I found that a French Press produced a creamier taste, balancing out the slight sourness in the coffee. Additionally, I believe this blend would make an excellent light-roast cold brew option when the weather is warmer. However, when brewed as an espresso, the flavor was weaker compared to other brew methods.
One aspect I appreciate about Out Of The Grey's Ethiopian Ormia Harrar is that it adheres to organic, fair-trade, and Rainforest Alliance standards. Supporting ethical brands while enjoying delicious coffee is always a win-win. Additionally, the freshly roasted beans in each bag contribute to a truly delightful brewing experience.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that the lychee and orange zest flavors may be too sour for some individuals. Preferences vary when it comes to taste, so it is crucial to keep that in mind. If you prefer darker roasts with more robust flavors, this might not be the best option for you.
Ethiopian Light Roast | Coopers
Cooper's Ethiopian Light Roast is an excellent choice for those seeking high-quality Ethiopian coffee from outside the country's main coffee regions. These beans are sourced from local farms in Gomma Woreda, Ethiopia, and meet the standards of Fair Trade certification. Additionally, Coopers implements their Farm Gate Program, ensuring proper compensation for the farmers.
Cooper's Ethiopian Light Roast consists of Grade 1 green coffee beans, roasted in small batches to preserve their flavorful and aromatic qualities. The flavor profile is vibrant, with notes of raw honey, lemon tart, and floral nectar. As you savor each sip, you'll also notice a hint of berries, enhancing the complex taste experience. Moreover, these beans have a delightful aroma that adds to the overall enjoyment.
For brewing, I highly recommend a pour-over method to fully appreciate the flavor complexities and aromatics of Cooper's Ethiopian Light Roast. The V60 pour-over allows the beans to shine, and I suggest drinking it black to fully savor the light roast nature of this coffee. While the French Press is another option, it may result in a slightly darker taste than expected from a light roast.
What sets Cooper's Ethiopian Light Roast apart is its balanced and complex flavor profile. The combination of tartness, acidity, sweetness, and bitterness creates a unique taste experience. Despite being a light roast, the coffee taste remains strong, making it a great choice for coffee lovers.
However, it is worth mentioning that the roast date is not specified on the packaging. If the freshness of the beans is a priority for you, it may be beneficial to explore other options.
Volcanica Organic Yirgacheffe
For an introduction to Ethiopian coffee, Volcanica's signature Yirgacheffe is an excellent choice. These organically grown beans pack a remarkable flavor profile, no matter how you prepare them. Expect a medium-bodied drink with fruity and wine-like tones. It pairs wonderfully with a hint of cinnamon.
Volcanica ensures freshness by shipping their coffee beans within 30 days of roasting, resulting in a delightful cup of coffee. Please note that Volcanica's Yirgacheffe is only available as whole beans, so investing in a high-quality grinder is recommended.
Marley Coffee One Love Ethiopian Coffee
Marley's One Love Ethiopian Coffee is a medium roast that delivers an incredibly smooth experience with hints of berries throughout. The flavor profile also features a touch of mocha. Apart from being Fair Trade Certified, Marley Coffee partners with One Tree Planted to contribute to forest sustainability.
While the current formulation of One Love is no longer organic and is a blend of Ethiopian coffee, it is still worth considering due to its commitment to ethical practices. Moreover, Marley Coffee offers eco-friendly pods, making it easy for users to recycle the waste materials responsibly.
Wild Coffee Sidamo Medium Roast
Wild Coffee focuses on freshness when it comes to their Sidamo medium roast. By keeping stocks low and ensuring small-batch roasting, they deliver beans at their freshest. This coffee is both organic and Fair Trade Certified.
Wild Coffee Sidamo Medium Roast offers an extraordinary aroma and bright flavor, with nutty and caramel-like notes. It is a slightly drier drink but remains alluring with its lemon tea taste.
Fresh Roasted Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC's Yirgacheffe reflects a citrus lover's dream. The coffee has prominent lemon flavors with a hint of lemon tea. It is USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, and Kosher Certified. Additionally, Fresh Roasted Coffee uses energy-efficient Loring Roasters to reduce their carbon footprint during the roasting process.
This Yirgacheffe coffee is available in both whole bean and ground versions, making it accessible to coffee enthusiasts of all kinds.
Cooper's Ethiopian Light Roast
For those seeking a milder Ethiopian coffee experience with distinct flavor characteristics, Cooper's Ethiopian Light Roast is an exceptional choice. This delicate and floral coffee offers hints of honey and lemon tart. It strikes a balance between a mild taste profile and a distinctly Ethiopian flavor.
Cooper's coffee is roasted in small batches to maintain freshness. They are confident in their quality and offer a 30-day refund policy if customers are not satisfied. This coffee is available in both whole bean and ground forms.
The Top 7 Ethiopian Coffees to Try
1. Volcanica’s Ethiopian Coffee — The Ultimate Choice
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Volcanica’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Whole Bean Coffee is widely regarded as one of the best Ethiopian coffees available. Most of the beans are sourced from wild coffee trees in the Yirgacheffe region, while the rest come from a single farm or estate. This coffee boasts a delightful combination of fruity and floral flavors, including ripe strawberry, pineapple, guava, dark chocolate, and lavender. It has a rich, prominent taste. Volcanica prides itself on roasting the coffee beans fresh and immediately shipping them out.
The only drawback is that this particular variety of Volcanica coffee does not have official organic or fair-trade certifications. However, since most of the coffee comes from wild trees, it is unlikely to contain significant amounts of chemical or pesticide residue. While it may not be officially Fair Trade, it is still sourced from a single farm/estate in Ethiopia.
RELATED READ: A Comprehensive Review of Volcanica Coffee
2. Cooper’s Ethiopian Whole Bean Coffee – Exceptional Ground Coffee
If you prefer pre-ground coffee, Cooper’s Ethiopian Light Roast is an excellent choice. It is available in four different grind sizes (French press, drip, espresso, and Turkish), as well as whole bean.
What sets Cooper’s Ethiopian coffee apart is its commitment to supporting coffee farmers in Ethiopia. They directly purchase their beans from the farmers' "gate," ensuring fair compensation. This coffee is also considered micro-lot and single-origin, meaning the beans come from a specific field or farm in Ethiopia. If you prefer consistent flavor profiles, micro-lot, single-origin coffee is the way to go. Cooper’s Ethiopian coffee offers citrusy-floral notes of lemon tart, raw honey, and floral nectar.
Unlike Volcanica, Cooper’s does not guarantee immediate roasting of the beans, and there is no roast date available on the packaging. However, these single-origin beans are both certified Organic and Fair Trade.
3. Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC’s Ethiopian Coffee
Experience Fresh Roasted Coffee’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Whole Bean Coffee – USDA Organic and Fair Trade Certified. This coffee originates from the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia, ensuring a consistent flavor profile of sweet tangerine, lemon tea, and lime. The beans are roasted fresh and shipped immediately by Fresh Roasted Coffee. The medium roast is suitable for a wide range of tastes.
While Fresh Roasted Coffee claims to roast the beans and ship them immediately, there is no roast date indicated on the packaging, making it difficult to confirm the exact date of roasting. Some consumers find this particular variety to be slightly more citrusy than desired, resulting in a slightly sour taste.
4. Cubico’s Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Coffee
If you prefer the convenience of ground coffee or do not own a coffee grinder, consider Cubico’s Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Coffee. This coffee is sourced from a family farm in Yirgacheffe that practices organic farming. It is considered single-origin, meaning the beans come from one specific farm in Ethiopia. The coffee is freshly roasted before being shipped to consumers, and each bag includes a roast date.
While the family farm does practice organic farming methods according to Cubico, there is no official USDA Organic certification. Additionally, the coffee is not Fair Trade Certified. Since it is ground coffee, it tends to go stale more quickly, so it is recommended to store it in an airtight container. Some consumers find the quality of this coffee to be inconsistent, occasionally resulting in a sour aftertaste.
5. Marley Coffee’s One Love Ethiopian Coffee
Try Marley Coffee’s One Love 100% Ethiopian Coffee Whole Bean. This coffee is produced by a company known for its commitment to sustainability and ethical business practices. It is Fair Trade Certified and partners with One Tree Planted to support forest sustainability. The beans are medium-roasted, resulting in a smooth and delicious flavor.
However, please note that this is not the same formulation as Marley Coffee's previous One Love blend. It is no longer organic and is now a blend of Ethiopian coffee, which means the flavor notes may vary.
6. Coffee Bean Direct Ethiopian Whole Bean Coffee
Coffee Bean Direct offers a Dark Ethiopian Yirgacheffe variety in whole beans that is both USDA Organic and Fair Trade Certified. In addition to the dark roast, they also offer a light roast and unroasted Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. The dark roast features flavor notes of lemon, baker's chocolate, and blueberry.
It is worth noting that Coffee Bean Direct prides itself on small-batch roasting, ensuring fresher beans. However, there is no roast date indicated on the packaging, and the quality of the coffee can vary from bag to bag. The specific source for the coffee beans is not specified beyond being from the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia. Lastly, if you prefer light-roast coffee in this variety, there is no organic and Fair Trade Certified option available.
7. Equal Exchange’s Organic Whole Bean Coffee (Ethiopian)
Support the Fair Trade policy with Equal Exchange’s Organic Whole Bean Coffee from Ethiopia. This coffee is both USDA Organic and Fair Trade Certified, ensuring ethical production practices. It offers flavor notes of blueberry, chocolate, and ginger.
Despite the company's ethical reputation, the quality of the coffee can be inconsistent. There is no information available about the roast times of the beans, and there are no roast dates indicated on the packaging. The specific source for the beans is not mentioned, other than they are from Ethiopia. It is also worth noting that this coffee is darker roasted than expected based on the provided chart, resembling more of a dark roast rather than a light to medium roast.
Experience the Unique Coffee Growing Regions of Ethiopia
Ethiopia has three distinct coffee growing regions, each with its own unique flavor and aroma. Here's a breakdown of what to expect from each region:
Sidamo coffee, commonly found in supermarkets, is characterized by fruity notes and a hint of light chocolate. It embodies the unique flavor profile that Ethiopian coffee is known for.
Yirgacheffe is a renowned coffee bean and is often considered the producer of the finest coffee in the world. It is typically grown on small family-owned farms situated at high altitudes. While technically a sub-region of Sidamo, Yirgacheffe offers a distinct taste profile with smooth, mild, and fruity flavors accompanied by a rich aroma.
Harrar is located northeast of Yirgacheffe and boasts a lower elevation. The coffee grown in this region tends to be bolder, with a slightly drier edge and fewer fruity notes. Harrar coffee has an aromatic profile with flavors reminiscent of berries and a touch of mocha.
What are the Best Ethiopian Coffee Beans?
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans are by far our most popular single-origin coffee. Despite being beloved by Stone Street fans, it remains relatively unknown among most coffee drinkers. This light roast coffee offers a mellow and smooth flavor, making it the ideal choice for your everyday cup of joe.
Discover our best-kept secret that is ready to break into the mainstream. If you're unsure about which Stone Street experience to try next, let it be Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. You won't be disappointed.
These Yirgacheffe coffee beans are grown at elevations ranging from 1,500 to 2,100 meters above sea level and undergo a dry processing method, retaining the maximum flavor. They are meticulously roasted and packaged in small batches right here in Brooklyn, NY, ensuring that you receive the freshest and most fantastic flavor.
Try Our Bestselling Yirgacheffe Coffee
Why We Love Yirgacheffe Coffee Beans
- Naturally processed using the dry method
- Offers distinct and intense flavors and aromas
- Notes of chocolate, florals, and lemon
- Light roast
Best Ethiopian Coffee Brands
Now let's delve into our findings for the top Ethiopian coffee brands from each region.
Best Harrar Coffee Brand
Our research led us to identify this Harrar coffee bean as the top choice under the "Harrar" brand name.
Koffee Kult Ethiopian Harrar Whole Bean Coffee
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Koffee Kult has established itself as a consistent player in the coffee bean industry, and their Ethiopian market offerings are no exception.
This Harrar coffee bean boasts blueberry notes with smooth dark chocolate undertones.
It is considered to have a balanced or sometimes full body.
Koffee Kult classifies these beans as "medium" roast, with many customers describing them as leaning toward the darker side of medium.
Best Limu Coffee Brand
For the best Limu Ethiopian coffee brands, we have chosen this gourmet product from Ajuvo World Market.
Ajuvo World Market Ethiopian Limu Roasted Coffee Beans
Ajuvo describes these Limu beans as having a winey-spicy flavor with a fruit-toned aroma.
They actively participate in Fair Trade with the Oromo Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union.
These coffee beans benefit from being grown in close proximity to banana, cinnamon, and tea plantations, resulting in a unique and exquisite taste.
Best Sidamo Coffee Brand
Finding non-Yirgacheffe Ethiopian coffee brands under the Sidamo region label proved somewhat challenging. However, we have identified this offering from Wild Foods as an excellent representative of Sidamo coffee.
Wild Coffee Whole Bean Organic Coffee Sidamo Medium Roast
Wild Foods is a small company based in Austin, Texas, that imports coffee beans from Ethiopia and roasts them locally.
They adhere to fair trade practices and are Fair Trade certified.
These coffee beans are sourced from Ethiopian farmers who grow their beans organically.
Wild Foods classifies their beans as a "medium" roast, leaning toward the darker side of medium. They offer a deep, rich body with notes of chocolate, floral hints, and a touch of spice.
Best Yirgacheffe Coffee Brand
For the best Yirgacheffe coffee bean brand, our preference leans toward wet-processed beans. RhoadesRoast Coffees meets all the criteria for a top-notch coffee bean.
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Washed Grade 1 Unroasted Coffee Beans
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If you prefer a crisp and clean taste, Yirgacheffe beans are the perfect choice.
The wet processing method gives these beans a distinctly clean flavor.
Roasting these beans to a medium or City roast results in a smooth medium body and a delightful finish.
Customers have highly recommended these beans for making espresso due to their low acidity and high caffeine content.
Best Brewing Methods for Ethiopian Coffee
Ethiopian coffees are incredibly versatile and can be brewed using various methods. Since they are usually medium roasted, they work well with any brewing technique. However, to fully appreciate the extraordinary natural flavors of Ethiopian coffee, it is best to enjoy it as it is, without adding sweeteners or milk foams. Here are some brewing methods that we highly recommend for Ethiopian coffee:
Cold brewing is an excellent choice for all the best Ethiopian coffees known for their bright, citrusy, and floral flavors. This method yields a refreshing and smooth brew that bursts with flavor. Simply grind your coffee beans to the coarsest setting to avoid over-extraction, and you're ready to go.
For the best results, opt for a pour-over coffee brewing method. This technique allows you to have complete control over the brewing process, ensuring that you extract all the deep nuances of flavors from your Ethiopian beans. The paper filter used in pour-over brewing brings out the lighter-bodied characteristics of the coffee, allowing you to experience the full range of flavors. The thickness of the paper filter can also impact the final result. Thicker filters work well with washed Ethiopian coffees, while thinner filters are better suited for natural processed ones.
If you prefer a convenient brewing method, your trusty drip coffee maker is a solid choice for Ethiopian coffee. Make sure to use freshly ground beans and opt for recently roasted ones. The paper filter in a drip coffee maker allows you to extract the coffee's light body and bright acidity while still enjoying its complex flavor profile.
Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, continues to produce some of the finest and most sought-after beans in the world. From the rich and complex flavors of Ethiopian Sidamo to the floral and fruity notes of Yirgacheffe, these top coffees showcase the diversity and quality of Ethiopian coffee. Whether you prefer a light or medium roast, single origin or organic and fair trade, there is a coffee to suit every palate. And let's not forget the Ethiopian coffee ceremony, a beautiful and time-honored tradition that truly enhances the coffee-drinking experience. So grab your favorite Ethiopian coffee beans, brew a cup using your preferred method, and savor the history, culture, and incredible taste of these exceptional coffees. Cheers to a caffeinated journey unlike any other!
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