A Taste of Addis Ababa

Last year when I was in Ethiopia to adopt my daughter (our fourth child, second adoption), I was astounded at how good the coffee was. I talked about some of my observations here. Ethiopia is one of the only coffee-producing areas in the world where all the indigenous people actually drink it. Columbia may be famous for coffee here in the States, but travel there and you won’t see many cafes. It all gets exported. In Ethiopia though, just about everyone drinks crazy amounts of it. While in the capital, I asked around to see what kind of local coffee was considered the best. A lot of people were not sure what I was talking about since I don’t think the same sort of regional distinctions are always made on the street, or if they are they use other names. A couple people though, including our driver, mentioned Limu as one of their favorites.

The trouble is, I’ve been following coffee in the states here for years and I have never seen anyone selling Limu. You see a lot of Yirgacheffe and Sidamo and occasionally some Harrar – all wonderful coffees in their own way, but not much if anything besides offerings from those three regions. The past six months at Bucer’s we have been using a Yirgacheffe that was rated as one of the best crops to come out of there in years. It’s really fantastic, but to be honest, it doesn’t really remind me that much of what I had to drink every day in Ethiopia itself.

A few days ago when I saw that our supplier in Seattle had gotten in a couple bags of Limu for the first time in ages, I jumped at the chance to try some out. I just roasted up a batch at the shop yesterday and took a sample home to try out. The smell of the grounds and the first sip absolutely confirmed it. THIS was the stuff! Something very much like this must have been behind the counter at the Kaldi’s Coffee locations and other shops. I’m going to need to talk to someone who knows the business over there, but I suspect that most of this varietal stays in-country and doesn’t get exported. (Bad for us!)

I’m rather elated with it. The taste is bringing back a lot of good memories. I will definitely put this in the whole bean bins at the shop next week.

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