Sidama Region and Climate
Situated in the southern part of Ethiopia covering 10,000 square kilometers is the region of Sidama. This region stretches across the rugged mountains of Bensa to the valleys of Dale and Aleta Wendo (Coop Coffees, 2023). Coffee is the economic glue of this region, leading the pack in coffee production since day one. Favorable climate conditions, rich volcanic soils, heavy rainfalls and high altitudes are all key to the region's success. Southern Ethiopia was where coffee originated - this historic coffee country produces rich varieties and distinct flavor profiles such as citrus, floral, and fruity notes.
Before being known as Ethiopia, the country and particularly the Sidama region was referred to as the region of Kaffa. The legend of how coffee was discovered tells us that a young goat herder in Kaffa noticed the energizing effects that cherries of a particular plant were having on his goats. This led the goat herder to try for himself which eventually brought us to production of the coffee you know today. It is believed that the origin of the word coffee comes from the word Kaffa, after the region where the plant was discovered.
Harvesting and Producing Coffee in the Sidama Region
The Sidama region produces coffee primarily grown by smallholder farms, meaning that each farmer has a small plot of land where they grow and cultivate their coffee beans. For these farmers, the harvest season typically takes place between November and January, however like any other farmer’s crop, the growth and success of the coffee harvest is subject to the weather and climate of that particular year.
Like many other regions that produce coffee, the harvesting process of coffee cherries in the Sidama region is tedious as each cherry must be hand-picked, and inspected to ensure only the highest quality cherries are being used. In the Sidama region, both natural (dry) and washed (wet) processing methods are commonly employed. Natural processing involves drying the coffee cherries with the fruit pulp intact, while washed processing involves removing the fruit pulp before drying the beans.
Coffee farmers and producers in the Sidama region have formed a union that enables them to be part of Coop Coffees, a cooperative coffee distributor dedicated to fair trade, organic coffee, and sustainability. Here at Equator Coffee we are committed to providing the highest quality of coffee to our customers while sourcing products using fair trade, organic, and sustainable principles. By being a member of Coop Coffees, we can source coffee beans from unions such as the one we see in Sidama. This enables us to bring coffee from around the world to our customers here in Ottawa, as well as ensuring that our founding principles are upheld in each transaction we participate in.
To learn more about this producer, please visit:
Producer Profile - Ethiopia Howolso
Taste and flavor notes
The process, or way in which coffee is harvested and processed for brewing has a great impact on the tasting notes that you may notice in the end product. There are two main processes used in this region's coffee production that bring us two unique flavour profiles. Sidamo-washed coffees tend to pronounce acidic fruit flavors varying from red fruits to blueberry and sweet organic to tangy lemon aromas, medium body, and a bitter cocoa finish (Coop Coffees, 2023). The other method, Sidamo natural process (unwashed) provides a quality profile with candied strawberry or blueberry fruit flavors, low acidity, and a rich, full body (Coop Coffees, 2023). The Ethiopia single-origin coffee we have roasted brings out the natural process coffee flavor notes of Blueberry, Brown Sugar, and Blackberry and has a cupping score of 84.5.
Sidama Union. Coop Coffee. (n.d.). https://coopcoffees.coop/sidama-union/