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The Origin of Origins: Ethiopia’s Wild Forest Coffee

This session will introduce the audience to Ethiopian forest coffee.

Coffee originated in the woodlands of Ethiopia, and centuries after it came to be cultivated and consumed around the globe, it still grows wild in its ancestral forests. While this forest coffee has an interesting story and flavor profile, poor processing and a supply chain that mixed it with farm-grown coffee prevented the development of a special market for the forest-grown product.

That is beginning to change. Partnerships for Forests and the nonprofit organization TechnoServe are working to bring attention to high-quality forest coffees from several regions of Ethiopia. The impetus for this effort is to promote environmentally sustainable livelihoods in communities surrounding the forests: if community members receive higher prices for their forest coffee, they will have greater incentives to protect the woodlands. These forests are vitally important ecosystems that also house the genetic stock that the coffee industry will need in order to develop new varieties.

As part of this awareness-building effort, TechnoServe has been mapping Ethiopia’s coffee forests, the cooperatives and washing stations that process and market forest coffee, and it has been developing flavor profiles and origins to help connect roasters and traders to these unique coffees.

Category: Sustainability

Lecture Room 3

Target Audience: Roasters, Traders, and Coffee Enthusiasts