Sidamo coffee: why does it taste so good?

Mar 29, 2021

Ethiopian Sidamo coffee is considered one of the finest in the world. But why is this coffee so special?

Read on to find out, and discover the secrets of Sidamo beans – from their surprising origins to their traditional production methods.

Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee

It’s thought that coffee originated in and around the Sidamo region of Ethiopia, where the arabica tree first grew. In fact, the world’s arabica plants are all descendants of those early Ethiopian trees.

Legend has it that an Ethiopian goatherd called Kaldi first discovered coffee when he saw his goats become very energetic after feasting on some mysterious berries!

Today, coffee is Ethiopia’s main export, and it’s a huge part of Ethiopian culture. Over half of coffee produced there is drunk by the Ethiopians themselves.

Why is the Sidamo region ideal for growing coffee?

Sidamo is a region of southern Ethiopia that’s mostly made up of fertile highlands. Thanks to plenty of rainfall, an optimal climate and rich, volcanic soil, Sidamo has the perfect conditions for growing coffee.

What’s more, because Sidamo coffee is grown at high altitude the coffee beans grow more slowly, which gives them more time to absorb nutrients from the soil and develop more complex flavours.

How is Sidamo coffee produced?

Nearly all Ethiopian coffee is grown by cooperatives of smallholder farms, and produced using traditional methods. These cooperatives are democratic organisations that are open to all farmers.

Sidamo coffee beans are usually ‘wet-processed’; picked coffee beans (called ‘cherries’) are pressed through a screen using high-pressure water, removing the skin and some of the pulp. The beans are then left to dry in the sun. Wet-processed beans can have more vibrancy and fruitiness than their dry-processed counterparts.

What does Sidamo coffee taste like?

Sidamo coffee has a delicious and complex flavour profile, with delicate notes of berry and cane sugar which linger pleasantly on the tongue. Sidamo coffee is known for its floral, citrusy aroma, and it tends to have a medium, smooth body. It’s more earthy than other Ethiopian coffees, with a bright finish and low acidity.

With such an enticing flavour profile and proud history, it’s clear why we chose Sidamo beans for our coffee bags! We source our single-origin Sidamo beans from cooperatives in the region, and ship them to be freshly roasted and ground at our UK roastery.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our little tour of Sidamo, and found it an interesting introduction to Ethiopian coffee. If you liked this post, feel free to share it! And if you want to try our special Sidamo coffee bags for yourself, you can order some here.