One of the most well-known Ethiopian coffees is Sidamo Coffee. This premium bean has beautiful blueberry flavors mixed with creamy, earthy and nutty tastes. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love drinking this coffee – it’s so naturally sweet you won’t need to add sugar!
Sidamo Coffee Facts
- Country of Origin – Ethiopia
- Regions – Kaffa, Sidamo Ethiopia
- Best Known Growers – Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union
- Altitude – 1,500 to 2,200 meters
- Harvest – October to January
- Milling Process – washed, sun-dried
- Aroma – sweet, winey, floral
- Flavor – super sweet, creamy, earthy with almonds and blueberries
- Body – mild
- Acidity – complex yet balanced, medium
- Certification – USDA Organic, Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade available.
About the Bean
Ethiopia is where it all started. In fact, it’s thought that the first ever Arabica coffee plants grew somewhere around the Sidamo region in Ethiopia. The beans that grow there today still maintain a certain wildness when it comes to flavor and acidity.
Coffee in Ethiopia (including Yirgacheffe) is known for citrusy edges, vibrant acidity, and natural sweetness. What really sets Sidamo coffee apart, however, is a unique blueberry flavor. You really have to try the coffee for yourself to understand how the sweetness of blueberries perfectly compliments the creamy, earthy and nutty notes. With every mouthful, you’re assaulted with the fresh, almost floral aroma, sweet flavor and the complex and wild acidity all wrapped up into one.
The high elevations of the Sidamo region allow the beans to really take their time growing, soaking up the sun, earth, and tropical climate. The beans are handpicked, washed and sun-dried before being shipped off. A light roast is best for these beans – a medium or dark roast will obliterate the subtle earthy, nutty and citrus edges in a flood of sickly sweetness.
This bean is ideal for espresso and your French press – however, it can be overpowered by too much milk so hold off on using Sidamo for your latte or cappuccino. With the natural sweetness of Sidamo coffee, you won’t need to add as much sugar to your coffee – you may even find it’s sweet enough to pass up the sugar altogether.
About the Region
Sidamo is a large region in the south of Ethiopia, home to the Sidama farmers. The Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union is just one union of farmers that still live off the coffee plants they grow, harvest and sell. There are over 80,000 independent farmers in this union alone.
Fair Trade, USDA Organic and other certifications are all easy to come by for Sidamo coffees too.
Coffee production in this area is strongly associated with their culture. The method of growing, harvesting and processing the coffee has been passed down through generations. Sidamo coffee is steeped in culture and has a rich history. In my opinion, this makes Sidamo coffee far more satisfying to brew and drink compared to a Brazilian coffee, for example.
Almost the entirety of the Sidamo region is at Strictly High grown altitude, meaning the coffee here grows for longer than average before becoming ripe for picking.
The climate in this region is tropical, moist and humid… for now. Unfortunately, the Sidamo climate is slowly changing as a result of climate change and global warming. How much the climate will change and how quickly can only be estimated, but this will undoubtedly have an effect on the growth and flavor of the coffee produced here. We can only hope it will be a positive effect.
If there was ever a good time to try Sidamo coffee, it is now.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.