By Dr. Hassen Jemmal (Senior Expert coffe and tea. HMMS grad)
Coffee grow between 23 degree north and south of the equator. It grow in about 80 countries in Asia, Africa, America, and Australia. In Ethiopia, coffee grows mainly in south and south western part of the country.
The important varieties of coffee in the world are Coffea Arabica, Coffea Canephora and Coffea liberica. However, 90% of the production is Coffea Arabica which is the best in flavor and aroma. In Ethiopia, the coffee produced is exclusively Coffea Arabica.
Many researchers agree that Coffea Arabica originated in Ethiopia as it grows wild and semi-wild in the forests of south west Ethiopia (mainly Keffa) in its diversified form. In the year 1737, Linnaeus described the genus coffee and in the year 1753, described the species and gave it the name Coffea Arabica since he believed, at that time, that Arabica felici (modern Yemen) was its home of origin as it was distributed from Yemen to the other world. However, the coffee grown in the green house of Amsterdam was identical to that coffee grow in HARARGHE and, in the year 1763, Linnaeus described the origin of Coffea Arabica to be Ethiopia and that of Arabica felici Yemen.
These days, researchers agree that Ethiopia is the home/orgin of Coffee Arabica due to its diversified existence and growth habit in our country, There are more than 100 cultivars known by there vernacular names. In Hararghe, the major cultivars are Abadiro, Bunaguracha, Shimbure and bunakela. Coffee Arabica grown or cultivated in Ethiopia is known for its best inherent quality if, properly cultivated processed and marked. Particularly, the Cofea Arabica produced in Hararghe is the BEST OF ALL COFFEES CULTIVATED IN ETHIOPIA AND KNOWN AS THE PREMIUM BLENDING COFFEE WITH HIGHEST PRICE IN THE COFFEE MARKETING WORLD.
Coffee is the second important export commodity, next to oil, for developing countries. Ethiopia gets 60 to 70% of its foreign exchange earnings from coffee. In the year 88/89 E.C, Ethiopia exported 117,979 tones of coffee for a sale of about 356 million dollars.
Coffee, Ethiopia's main cash crop, was the first time exported from Haraghe by the governor(Sulatn) through the port of Zeila in the year 1810 and the amount then was only 12 tones in the year 1901, 1205 tones of coffee was exported in the name of Harar coffee whereas only 101 tones was exported in the name of Abyssinian coffee. These days, the export of Hararghe coffee is about 10,000 tones a year.