Coffee is a very important agricultural export for the Ethiopian economy, and has therefore been very tightly controlled by the government. Until very recently, all coffee traded in Ethiopia was bought and sold through the Ethiopian Coffee Exchange (ECX). This entity inspected every lot of coffee, assigned it a grade according to its quality (Grade 1 being the best), and assigned it a regional profile such as Yirgacheffe or Guji. These regional profiles reflected the taste of the coffee, and not always its actual region. Additionally, the ECX did not share information regarding the washing station or community with buyers, so for many years it was impossible to offer fully traceable coffee in Ethiopia.
During this period, our Head of Buying and Procurement, Joanne Berry, developed this flavour wheel. Rather than rely on the flavour profiles offered by the ECX, which created confusion about where the coffee actually came from, we used these flavour profiles to navigate the wide offering of coffees from this country.
The Ethiopian coffee sector was liberalised in 2017, and the role of the ECX in the coffee trade was reduced. It is now possible to find a fully traceable coffee, back to the washing station or farmer, but it can still be challenging to navigate Ethiopian offers. There is so much to choose from: different regions, micro-regions, processing methods and styles. Our flavour wheel is a tool to help you find the best Ethiopian coffee for you.
With the exception of cooperative lots, our Ethiopian coffees begin with the name of the flavour profile. Looking for a cup that is heavy on the florals and earl grey notes? Look for coffees beginning with Samii. Need a natural that leans into lactic and spice? Bildimoo coffees are for you.
If you have any questions about our flavour wheel, or would like to order samples, get in touch with your sales rep or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.