Zingerman’s Coffee Company Heads to Africa
What’s So Special About African Coffees?
I’ve always been a big fan of African coffees. They’re very complex and often have unique defining characteristics. For example, a classic Ethiopian coffee might taste like blueberries with a nice winey body. A quintessential Kenyan will have an unmistakable cassis (black currant) flavor that no other region produces. They are quite often surprising.
They’re also quite flexible. A good Ethiopian can lend some fruitiness to a sweet espresso blend and at the same time can be roasted lighter for a bright and lively drip coffee. Our Yirgachaffe is wonderful with our lighter roast. It has a lemony, dark berry flavor when roasted lightly.
We’ve carried quite a few East African coffees in the last 3 years including Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia and Uganda. We taste many more than we carry because, frankly, there is a lot of variability from year to year. Some years we don’t find anything we like from a particular region but when we do find one, we make sure we get our hands on it.
Conditions on the Ground
The coffee crop from Africa is certainly affected by the political strife in many of the producing nations. Coffee is often THE major export and source of economic growth for
the rebuilding of these countries. For a great article on the current coffee situation in Africa, click here.