How To Do A Coffee Tour Of Ethiopia

Ethiopian Coffee

The birthplace of caffeine is still abuzz with superior beans. Where do you find them?

A traditional jebena for brewing coffee...
... and a look at some colorful beans.

By Chaney Kwak
Originally appeared in October 2015 issue of Virtuoso Traveler

How could we carry on every morning if fifth-century nomads from the Ethiopian highlands hadn’t discovered wild coffee plants? Coffee spread from the sub-Saharan African nation to the Middle East, then to Europe – and the rest is history.

Today, “much of Ethiopia’s coffee production is done without modern machinery,” says Robert Veden, a senior destination manager with tour operator Cox & Kings. “Workers process coffee by hand, so they’re experts in the beans.” Primarily grown in Harrar, Ghimbi, and Sidamo, “Ethiopia’s regional coffees each have distinct tastes,” adds Seattle-based Virtuoso travel advisor Marie-Paule Emanuel, “because of the country’s weather and special terrain.” 

How Should You Tour Ethiopia?

Explore Ethiopia’s three main coffee-growing regions on a customizable 13-day journey with Cox & Kings. Other suggested highlights include Lalibela’s rock-hewn churches, the 2,500-year-old Temple of Yeha, and Addis Ababa’s National Museum – home to the 3.1-million-year-old Lucy skeleton. Departures: Any day through December 31, 2016; from $8,495 (including internal airfare). 

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