Ethiopia Harrar, or Harar, coffee is a unique and highly sought-after specialty coffee from the eastern highlands of Ethiopia. Pronounced "ha-rar," this coffee-growing region is situated at an altitude of around 1,400 to 2,000 meters above sea level. An interesting fact about Harrar is that it is the birthplace of coffee, with wild coffee trees still growing in the forests of the region.
Ethiopia is considered the birthplace of coffee, and the Harrar region has been growing coffee for centuries. The history of coffee cultivation in Harrar dates back to the 15th century when coffee beans were first discovered in the region. Over the centuries, Harrar coffee has become known for its unique flavors, setting it apart from other Ethiopian coffees. The coffee has played a significant role in the region's culture, with traditional coffee ceremonies being an essential part of Ethiopian life.
In the Harrar region, coffee farming is primarily done by smallholder farmers who cultivate coffee on their plots of land. The majority of these farms are family-owned and operated, with generations of experience in coffee cultivation. The coffee trees in Harrar are often grown alongside other crops, such as maize and teff, which helps improve soil fertility and provides shade for the coffee plants.
Coffee in Ethiopia, and particularly in Harrar, is usually processed using the natural or dry method. This method involves drying the coffee cherries under the sun, with the fruit still attached to the beans. The cherries are spread out on raised beds or mats and are frequently turned to ensure even drying. Once the cherries have dried, they are then hulled to remove the dried fruit and parchment layer, revealing the green coffee beans inside.
The natural processing method used in Harrar is believed to contribute to the distinct flavors found in the coffee from this region. Although there is some variation in processing methods across Ethiopia, the natural method is the most common and traditional approach used in Harrar.
Ethiopia Harrar coffee is renowned for its complex and distinct flavor profile. Coffees from this region are known for their bright acidity, heavy body, and rich fruity flavors. Common tasting notes include blueberries, blackberries, apricots, and wine-like characteristics. The natural processing method used in Harrar often results in a more pronounced fruitiness, along with a heavier body and a wild, exotic aroma.
Harrar coffee is often described as having a unique "winey" or "mocha" flavor, which sets it apart from other Ethiopian varieties. This distinctive taste is highly valued by specialty coffee enthusiasts and is considered a true representation of Ethiopian coffee heritage.
In the world of specialty coffee, Ethiopia Harrar holds a special place due to its rich history, unique flavors, and traditional processing methods. As the birthplace of coffee, Harrar continues to produce some of the most sought-after beans, showcasing the diverse and complex flavors that Ethiopian coffee has to offer.