Captivating photos of the Motherland

Thanks go to Peter Giuliano for sharing the link to this gorgeous set of photos of coffee growing, roasting, processing and brewing in Ethiopia:

http://www.amivitale.com/2013/03/coffeeland-images-from-ethiopia-in-afar-magazine/

I was only able to visit Ethiopia once during my coffee buying days and have wanted to return there more than to any other country ever since. The people, coffee, cuisine, music, sights, sounds, smells, culture and history are just mind-blowing.

Really there's no excuse in 2013 for any conscientious roaster-retailer to not be offering well-chosen examples of the two classic Ethiopian flavor profiles (bright, clean washed and wild, berry/chocolate infused naturals) at all times. Not only do these two together represent the original taste of coffee, but the great natural coffees in particular - the Harrars, dry-processed Sidamos, Mochas from nearby Yemen - are invariably the first overall choice of consumer groups I've sampled on them over the years. How interesting the "disconnect" is here between professional cuppers, who usually abhor them due to being well-trained in avoiding the slightest trace of the defect called "ferment" in washed coffees, and food-and-wine savvy consumers, who relish naturally-occuring fruit flavors (and are delighted to find them in something other than a $160 a pound Gesha grown by white folks).

I think if I had the money to open a retail store today I might well choose to feature only African and Indonesian coffees, as a gustatory and cultural necessary corrective to the Latin American focus of today's retail scene, and I'd make coffees from Ethiopia the centerpiece.


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