As the legend has it, a goat herder named Kaldi was out in the forest with his goats and he noticed this one particular day that they were more excited and playful than usual. He then noticed that they had been eating the red fruit of a tree. Kaldi thought it wise to see if this berry would give him the same excitement so he ate some. After a couple minutes he felt that signature pick-me-up of caffeine. He took cherries to a monk who quickly declared they were a gift from god. The large majority of coffee in Ethiopia is dry processed, although coffee here is increasingly being wet processed (washed). “Ethiopia is the birth place of coofee”
Wet processed means that the fruit covering the coffee bean is removed before the bean is dried – this requires special equipment and large amounts of water. The cherries are dumped in water where the bad beans separate themselves from the good beans by sinking. The beans are then dried.
Dry processing is the oldest and most simple method, requiring little or no machinery. Beans are sorted by hand to remove bad cherries, twigs and leaves. The beans are dried whole, rather than first removing the fruit. Drying is usually done outdoors on a tarp or open area and turned by hand– it may take up to four weeks to fully dry (12.5% maximum moisture content). Although it takes longer, beans dried in the shade produce a higher quality coffee than beans dried in the sun.
In both processes, drying is the most important step as it affects the taste of the coffee. Over dried coffee becomes brittle while under dried coffee is prone to rotting. The dry-processed coffees from Jimma, Gimbi, and Harar, to name a few regions, are traditionally full-bodied, with almost roasted spice and cooked fruit flavor. The washed coffees, from Limmu, Sidamo and Yirga Ch’efe (Yirgacheffe) have floral notes that, at their best, are delicate yet intoxicatingly fragrant.
Dry processed coffees will have fuller body and grittier texture, less brightness or acidity, and flavors of earth and warm spice. While wet processed coffee is cleaner and lighter with more brightness and almost no earthiness. Coffee is indigenous to Ethiopia. All coffee is Coffee arabica and is regarded as the best natural genetic stock on earth. By value, coffee is Ethiopia’s largest agricultural and export product.