Coffee has been cultivated at Harrar for several hundreds of years, probably since the 14th or 15th century.Coffee production flourished as a result of high demand from Yemen, which sent traders to search for the best harvests.Although coffee has grown wild in Ethiopia for centuries, it was first cultivated for sale in Harrar. It is definitely one of the world’s first coffee growing regions.
Coffee production practices have led to a particular type of land use specific to the area, with coffee holding a prominent place in the crops of farmers.Coffee is grown on the high plateaus in terraces, an ancient choice of plantation that gives Harrar its distinctive landscape. Today, farmers maintain this system by producing coffee in orchards, benefiting from moderate shade and interspersed with other food crops, such as maize.It is this know-how that contributes to making the Harrar unique terroir.
The area employs an agricultural model based on polyculture, in which coffee plays an important role. But in recent years that has tended to take over. This plant, consumed for its stimulating properties, can be sold easily in Ethiopia and for export, despite being banned in many European countries.Its profitability is encouraging more and more farmers to abandon their traditional coffee production.
Promoting the qualities of East Harrar coffee has become an important challenge, because once the coffee is recognised for its quality there is less chance of it being abandoned for more attractive crops. BashaMawi, who is the exporter that we work with, is committed to this cause.
He collects this Golden coffee himself in the woreda of Bedeno. It is a very distinctive coffee with a mocha flavour that has earned East Harrar its reputation. The yellow colour of its beans is caused by a nitrogen deficit in the soil. It is cultivated on small plots of very well-maintained land adjacent to the inhabitants’ homes. These plots, located at an altitude of between 1,500 and 1,800 metres, are terraced to limit the effects of the erosion of the hills in the Harrar region.
Sandy, characterised by a nitrogen deficit