Coffee Growing Regions
While Ethiopia is commonly regarded as the birthplace of coffee, many of the central and eastern countries of Africa also produce their fair share of excellent coffee beans. Countries including Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and more recently the Democratic Republic of Congo all now have established export markets. Each country's coffee has its own distinct characteristics making for a diverse range of coffee flavours on offer.
Coffee was introduced to Burundi when they were under Belgian colonial rule in the 1920s. Since then coffee production steadily increased until the civil war, that started in 1993, caused a major decline. Most coffees from Burundi are of the Bourbon variety and are processed using the fully washed method.
Recently the coffee producing plantations in Burundi have begun to embrace the speciality coffee scene, with the quality of coffee getting increasingly higher. There is much hope for some exciting coffees to come out of this country now and into the future.
Ethiopia has long been considered the birthplace of coffee. Although the facts can't be proven now with some believing that certainly Arabica coffee may have actually come from southern Sudan. The rich, diverse coffee from Ethiopia is not replicated anywhere else on Earth and it's difficult to believe how coffee can have such fruity and floral flavours until you sample some from Ethiopia.
Coffee was first exported from Ethiopia in the 1600s and since then it has built a reputation for some truly spectacular and high quality coffee. Much of this might have been because of the overthrow of Emporer Haile Selassie, which resulted in much of the land being nationalised and private land ownership being outlawed. This had the effect of coffee farming going back to its roots of harvesting from the wild and this might be why there is now such a diverse range of coffee on offer.