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 productionpractices 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 Harrarterroir unique.
The area employs an agricultural model based on polyculture, in which coffee plays an important role. But in recent years khat 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 EleliDarartu coffee himself. The exporter is based in DiréDawa, where hegathers a natural coffee that is produced in small farms located at an altitude of about 2,000 metres. The farms are located in the immediate vicinity of the village of EleliDaratu, after which the coffee is named. BashaMawi is working to preserve this local product by ensuring the detailed traceability of the coffee. Belco is committed to helping him with this process.
Polyculture | Manual harvest | Cup profile | Natural drying in the sun