Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee. Legend has it that a goat herder named Kaldi saw his goats eating a mysterious berry. The goats were filled with joy and energy. Kaldi then took the cherry-red berries that contain the coffee bean and tried them for himself and it had a similar effect. Thus began the origins of coffee.
Ethiopia has something to the tune of 3,000 to 5,000 different genetic variations of coffee. In contrast there are only about 30 found in the rest of the world. The most famous coffee growing areas in Ethiopia are the town of Yirgacheffee and Siadma or Sidamo, which is a province in Southern Ethiopia. The coffees are diverse in profile and have intense and extravagant aromatic profiles that range from a variety of floral tastes to lemon, chocolate, and fruitiness. In Sidama coffees such as this one, from the highest-quality lots, have crisp lemon acidity and lots of clarity.
This coffee is from the Werka Coffee Washing Station in the woreda or village of Nensebo, in the town of Werka. The washing station is used by between 700 and 800 farmers, each of whom grows coffee on an average of 3 hectares of land. The typical farm here is also planted with false banana and corn plants, and Acacia trees for shade. The farms range in altitude from 1900–2050 meters, with average daily temperatures up to about 77° Fahrenheit, with cool evenings of about 60° Fahrenheit.
The washing station produces both washed and natural coffees: The washed lots are fermented underwater for 48 hours before the mucilage is removed; the coffee is dried on raised beds in a windy area, to speed up the drying process. The washing water is purified and recycled for other uses.