An adventure around East Africa leads many to Ethiopia, a country that’s distinct for being the genesis of the entire world’s coffee supply; the Arabica coffee plant originated here thousands of years ago. Even the term “coffee” came from the country’s southwestern region of Kaffa, where the plant originally blossomed. In modern times, Ethiopia continues to grow some of the world’s most sought-after, high-quality specialty coffee.
Ethiopia is one of the world’s biggest coffee producers, and the largest producer in Africa. As the geographic origin of Arabica coffee, the country exports a significant amount even today, with exports in 2010 totaling some 3.3 million 60-kilogram bags. This is only about half of the country’s total production since over 3 million bags are consumed domestically each year.
The coffee that farmers in the country cultivate today can be split into four categories: plantation coffee, garden coffee, semi-forest coffee, and forest coffee. The total land area covered by Arabica plants and other varieties is approximately 400,000 hectares.