The continent of Africa is bigger than the United States, Canada, and China put together, and the equatorial belt cuts through the middle of Africa where we find perfect growing conditions for some of the world's best African coffee beans.
Graphic Courtesy of ontheworldmap.com
There are 54 countries in Africa, and some of these countries are major coffee growing and coffee-producing areas. Depending on where it is grown and processed, a coffee bean will have very different flavor notes. Depending upon the climate and elevation of the coffee farm, a coffee-producing country can offer a wide scope of unique profiles.
Coffee is more of a culture in African countries than we’re used to in the west. In Africa, the coffee crop is attached to rituals and get-togethers. Hope (Ikizere), Vision (Ikerokoza), and Proud (Ishema) are the main values to the coffee crop and the guidelines of how people work together.
Weaver’s Coffee & Tea sources a few of our favorite African coffees from East Africa; Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania.
Ethiopia is often credited as the birthplace of the coffee plant and coffee culture.
According to legend, the 9th-century goat-herder Kaldi discovered the coffee plant after noticing the energizing effect the plant had on his flock. Kaldi reported his findings to the Abbot of the local monastery, who made a drink with the berries and found that it kept him alert through the long hours of evening prayer.
This country gave the world Coffee Arabica, the species that produces most of the best quality coffee we drink these days. Ethiopia is the largest African producer of Arabica coffee to date, and the export is vital to the country's economy.
Our Weaver’s Ethiopian Natural Organic Coffee is 100% organic. Our Ethiopian Coffee has blueberry overtones with marmalade and fruit undertones that lead to a clear and refined finish.
Our Ethiopian coffee farmers use a unique natural dry-process rather than the typical wet-process used in most equatorial growing regions. The dry process allows the whole coffee cherry to dry on the coffee seed, in the sun, which imparts a blueberry flavor to the coffee bean.
Photo Courtesy of InterAmerican Coffee
The surrounding skin, fruit layer, and parchment shell of each individual seed are then removed. With John Weaver’s 40-years of coffee knowledge and experience, you can literally taste and smell the blueberry flavor profile in this hand-roasted coffee. When you drink our Ethiopian Natural Organic Coffee, you are tasting quality green coffee beans, dried in the sun with the cherry still on the seed, and then an artisan coffee roaster working magic on the coffee beans to bring the natural fruit notes out of the coffee bean and into your cup. When you pull espresso shots with our Espresso Blend coffee or our other high-quality Weaver's Coffee Blends you can smell and taste the Ethiopian Coffee in the blend.
Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, in the African Great Lakes region and is one of the smallest countries on the African mainland. Rwanda is also known as the Land of a Thousand Hills, as it has mountains in the West with stretches of savannah and lakes in the east.
However, unlike Ethiopia, coffee isn’t native to Rwanda. It seems to have been brought to the country by German missionaries in the early 1900s. Around 1930, coffee farming in Rwanda increased though it was mostly low-grade, high volume green coffee beans. Today, Rwanda is Africa’s ninth largest Arabica coffee producer with about 450,000 Rwandan small coffee farms. Coffee farms here are small and often only have about 165 trees per farm. In 2016, only 220,000 60 kilo bags were harvested from this country compared to 7.1 million in Ethiopia and almost 5 million in Uganda.
Photo Courtesy of PerfectDailyGrind & Photo Credit: Stean Bean
Weaver's Rwanda Muhororo Coffee is known for being sweet, full-bodied, fruity, and acidic. It is a unique profile that should not be overlooked by roasted and coffee drinkers. The Rwandan government is strategically positioning itself as a world-class producer of specialty single-origin coffee.
However, when we mention this country we cannot forget about the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, the tragic event where 800,000 people murdered in 100 days and as many as 250,000 women were raped. Organizations such as the Partnership for Enhancing Agriculture in Rwanda through Linkages (PEARL) led by Dr. Dan Clay as well as Sustainable Partnerships to Enhance Rural Enterprises and Agricultural Development (SPREAD) led by Dr. Timothy Schilling were launched in a response to this tragedy. Both were funded by USAID and aimed to support Rwanda by revitalizing its agriculture.
Coffee farming is one of the country’s most valuable crops and primarily focuses. There has been an investment in the infrastructure and training to support Rwandan coffee producers. The strategy is to focus the efforts of increasing the coffee production and processing practices to lead to the growth and success of Rwanda.
The geographic location of Kenya is interesting because it is intersected by the equator, which allows for near-perfect conditions for growing coffee. The hot sun combined with the fertile soil allows the fruit to ripen beautifully.
Weaver's Kenya AA Coffee is a bold coffee with subtle nuances that light up the entire palate of your tongue. John says you need to savor its brilliant acidity and the coffee’s natural progression of flavors from grapefruit, orange, to blackberry, to its grape, currant finish.
Unlike our Ethiopian Natural Organic Coffee, which is processed dry, our Kenyan AA Coffee is processed wet.
Stage one, the red coffee cherries are hand-picked, then sorted based upon color and ripeness. After this process, the coffee cherries are separated from sticks, leaves, or any other material potentially found in the picking baskets. After this, the coffee farmer then splits the coffee cherries by a machine to unwrap the green raw coffee bean from its casing. Once the coffee cherry is popped and separated from the green coffee bean, it is washed well to remove any excess casing on the coffee bean that was missed. Afterward, the coffee beans are then fermented by being put into water to remove the parchment-like material casing that surrounds the coffee bean.
Stage two of the fermentation process continues to improve the quality of the coffee bean, as the first step of soaking, the coffee beans are then taken into an underwater soak in which they sit anywhere from 16 hours to a full day.
The final cleaning happens when the coffee beans are washed to remove any final bits of casing still on the bean or dirt accrued throughout the process. Now the coffee farmer brings the green coffee beans to the exporter. Once the coffee beans finish the water soak the coffee beans are then put out onto tables or tarps to dry in the warm African sun and turned until dry.
Tanzania, which borders Kenya and Rwanda, is the largest of the East African countries.
This beautiful country has more than four million wild animals in its periphery, making it the country with the largest concentration of animals per square kilometer in the world! The migration of a million wildebeests cross over to the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya is said to be one of the natural wonders of the world. A whopping 30% of the country’s area is occupied with National Parks (including the famous Serengeti National Park), 12 parks, 13 nature reserves, and 38 protected areas. Mt. Kilimanjaro, the world’s largest free-standing mountain is also located in this amazing country.
Weaver's Aged Tanzania Tarime Organic Coffee hails from smallholding farms in the Tarime district located in the northern tip of Tanzania, close to the Kenyan border. The region has a reputation for African coffee that is more complex and a higher-grade coffee than most of the country’s beans. Our Tanzania Tarime Organic Coffee is a delicious organic coffee that is handpicked, naturally sun-dried and softened by the aging process.
Africa Blend Coffee Versus Single Origin African Coffee
Our four single-origin African coffees: Ethiopian Natural Organic, Rwanda Muhororo, Kenya AA, and Aged Tanzania Tarime Organic all offer unique flavor profiles.
John Weaver uses his extensive knowledge and skillset to hand roast and hand blend an amazing coffee blend of these beautiful Arabica coffees which come together as our Weaver's Africa Blend Coffee. This robust blend offers an intense, yet medium-bodied complexity with bright fruit berry and citrus flavors with a deep finish.
Exploring the East African countries through their coffee is one way to enjoy the sensual beauty of where life and time began.