STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 4, Number 2

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8 STiR tea & coffee industry international / Issue 2, 2015 (April/May) Extraordinary Ethiopia "Wait a minute, this is coffee?" I recall asking, because the delicious brew in my cup poured like coffee, looked like coffee, smelled like coffee, and tasted of the most amazing roasted blueberries and fruit. It was crisp with a lingering finish that demanded seconds, and a third. "I can't get over how good, and different, and delightful this tastes," I said. "It is an estate Yirgacheffe, from Ethiopia," explained the barista, with a smile, adding, "Ethiopia is the one place in the world where the coffee doesn't always taste like coffee." I soon after discovered the berries of Sidamo, spicy Limu and the floral Harrar, all from the birthplace of coffee. The coffee community is in for a treat as the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) showcases Ethiopia at this year's annual gathering. Ethiopia is Africa's top producer – and more significant, it is one of the few producing countries where domestic coffee drink- ers consume half of what it grows. Ethiopians savor their coffee. When you sit for a coffee break it begins around a brazier where the coffee is roasted and ground in a pestle. The coffee is then brewed in a round bottomed clay jebena to be sipped slowly in tasting cups. Ethiopia is the fifth largest coffee producer in the world at 800,000 metric tons. The coun- try exported a record 235,000 metric tons by the end of the 2014/15 fiscal year, earning $862 million. There are close to two million family growers and nearly 20% of Ethiopians directly or indirectly work in coffee, which has provided a steady income for generations. In The Gesha Legacy (pg. 54) consultant Willem Boot traced a disease resistant coffee in the New World known as Geisha to its origin in Gesha Ethiopia. Coffee is largely self- fertilized which leads to remarkable diversity and resilience in the pristine forests of Ethiopia. Plant scientists there have documented 4,000 genetic varieties of arabica. Boot explains how this ancient land preserves the genetic heritage of coffee at a critical time when changes in rainfall, wind and temperature invite the spread of fungus and pests. Only .03% of the genetic diversity available in coffee can be found in commercial farms worldwide. Ethiopian coffee is also the world's most bird friendly with coffee farms sheltering more than 2.5 times as many bird species as adjacent mountain forest. While growing coffee in full sun improves yields, requires less labor, and can reduce the risk of fungal disease, most of Ethiopia's coffee is shade grown. Ethiopia is also one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. Coffee production is growing at 20% with exports rising 28% to meet global demand for fine coffee. As Africa's largest producer, Ethiopia is home to the Ethiopian Coffee Exchange which modernized trading in 2008. In a land that speaks 80 languages, farmers get the right value for their crop while buyers find the exchange to be a model of integrity, transparency and efficiency. Trade is a government priority dating back centuries. "We look forward to strengthening relationships and establishing new partnerships, and feature Ethiopia's recent innovations in quality and traceability," said His Excellency Yaekob Yalla, state minister of trade of Ethiopia. At SCAA I know that both Ethiopia's delegation and the extraordinary coffee they bring will receive a warm welcome. From the Editor Publisher/Founding Editor Glenn Anthony John Managing Editor Dan Bolton Art Director Somjet Thitasomboon Global Tea Report Jane Pettigrew Global Coffee Report Jenny Neill Contributing Writers Anne-Marie Hardie Sherri Johns (North America) Larry Luxner Sunalini Menon (India) Frank Miller Thomas Schmid Dan Shryock Kelly E. Stein (South America) Translations (Chinese) Helen Xu Fei Sales Director Emerson Leonard Sales Representatives Jonathan W. Bell For further information, contact: Director, October Inter Co., Ltd. Boonthin Tubsongkroh STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International c/o October Inter Co. Ltd. Vanit Building 2, Room 1403A 1126/2 New Petchburi Rd. Bangkok 10400 THAILAND Tel +66 2255 6625 Fax +66 2655 2211 Published by: A Member of: © 2015 October Multimedia Co Ltd., STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International is published bi-monthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December by October Multimedia Co Ltd. Printing and distribution overseen by October Inter Co., Ltd., 1126/2 New Petchburi Road, Vanit Bldg. 2 Room 1403A, Bangkok 10400 THAI- LAND. Tel +66 22 55 66 25, Fax +66 26 55 22 11 E-mail: Visit: for the latest news.

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