The 7 Best Ethiopian Coffee on the Market

best ethiopian coffee

Curious about Ethiopian coffee? Of course, you are! Ethiopian coffee is a world in and of itself – here is where coffee originated, and where still to this day it grows wild, with undiscovered varieties of coffee awaiting deep in the Ethiopian wilderness.

So today, we’ll give you a list of the seven best Ethiopian coffee to try. Then, we’ll go on to illustrate to you Ethiopian coffee quality and how to tell which is best.

And of course, you’ll also learn a lot about Ethiopia itself, its connection to coffee, and the rich and interesting coffee culture in Ethiopia.

The 7 Best Ethiopian Coffee on the Market

Ethiopian Coffee, Yirgacheffe Region, Organic, Whole Bean, Fresh Roasted, 16-ounce

  • Item form: Whole bean
  • Flavor notes: Lemon, Blueberry, and Blackberry
  • Diet type: Gluten Free, Kosher, Vegan
  • Roast: Medium/light
  • Coffee processing: Washed

The Yirgacheffe region is one of the most famous for coffee, so expect to see this name often. It’s not a guarantee of quality per se, and there’s definitely bad Yirgacheffe coffee – but in general, it’s very good.

This particular choice is one of the most consistently good in my experience: it tastes amazing and I can use any type of brewing method without the taste changing a lot. It says a lot about a masterful blend, which I’m sure is this one.

Fresh Roasted Coffee, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Kochere, 5 lb (80 oz), Medium Roast

  • Item form: Whole bean
  • Flavor notes: Sweet Tangerine, Lemon Tea, Lime
  • Diet type: Vegetarian, Kosher, Vegan
  • Roast: Medium, Mild Body
  • Coffee processing: Fully washed

This brand has a lot of Ethiopian choices out there. Why did I end up choosing this one? Well, I don’t want to say it’s only because it’s Yirgacheffe, but that’s actually the case. I’ve tried two other Ethiopian beans from this brand and they were a rather bad tasting.

This Yirgacheffe blend, however, is quite good. It tastes a little mild to be 100% Yirgacheffe, but it’s still a subtle, complex flavor that I very much enjoy and I’m sure you would, too.

Marley Coffee One Love, 100% Ethiopian, Medium Roast

  • Item form: Ground
  • Flavor notes: Balanced and smooth, with exotic hints of berry
  • Diet type: Kosher
  • Roast: Medium

If you want coffee that feels deep, smoky, roasty, this is it! It has all of the flavors of Ethiopian coffee but in a totally different way of delivering it.

It’s a flavor profile that I’m not used to with these types of coffee, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how well it goes with Ethiopian coffee. Definitely a must-try for fans of milk-based drinks.

Equal Exchange Ethiopian Organic Coffee Ground, 12-Ounce Packages

  • Item form: Ground
  • Flavor notes: Blueberry, chocolate, and fresh ginger
  • Diet type: Kosher
  • Roast: Medium

This organic choice is full of fresh flavors. It has a bright acidity that reminds you of freshly picked blueberries, straight off the plant, and also that bright acid-yet-sweet aroma from freshly cut ginger.

All in all, it’s a very refreshing flavor that I personally enjoy in an iced or cold brew, as it helps bring out those flavors more – and it tones down the acidity which, if under-extracted, makes for a very unpleasant taste.

Coffee Bean Direct Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Whole Bean Coffee, 5-Pound Bag

  • Item form: Whole bean
  • Flavor notes:  Cocoa powder, pecan, and brown sugar
  • Diet type: Kosher
  • Roast: Light

Coffee Bean Direct is actually one of my favorite brands. They have such a wildly huge selection of coffee that you can just go to them whenever you feel like something in particular. And today, that would be Ethiopian coffee.

Now, I’m not sure what it is about this Yirgacheffe that doesn’t actually taste like Yirgacheffe at all – maybe in its berry-like flavor notes, but that’s about it. It is deeply sweet, even more so if brewed using a French press.

I highly recommend this one for black coffee, as it is naturally sweet and aromatic.

Golden Coffee 5lb Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Whole Bean, Light Roast, 100% Arabica Coffee

  • Item form: Whole bean
  • Flavor notes: Fruity berry and some nuttiness with a hint of sweet ripe cherry
  • Diet type: Gluten-free
  • Roast: Light
  • Coffee processing: Washed

A light Ethiopian roast? Correct! I said before that Ethiopian coffee is usually used for espresso, which means dark roasts. Medium roasts are the second favored one – but light roasts are very rare.

And, in all honesty, I can’t figure out why. Ethiopian coffee has a lot of fruit and berry-like flavors that are better processed in light roasts. The flavor might not be as deep and rather light, but it is still so full of flavor!

Ethiopian Sidamo Coffee | 100% Organic and Fair Trade | Roasted, Ground

  • Item form: Ground
  • Flavor notes: Sidamo
  • Diet type: Organic
  • Roast: Medium

This is a more premium choice that has a very unique flavor – from the Sidamo region. This fair trade and organic coffee are made from high-quality beans and results in a syrupy, rich coffee that will knock your socks off.

It is ideal for cappuccinos and foam-rich coffees with little to no milk, as it helps the full flavor of the coffee shine through.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Ethiopian Coffee Brand

Fair Trade

Fair Trade is an important label in Ethiopia. Millions of people are employed in the coffee industry, and the potential for exploitation is higher than in other countries.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Ethiopia are underpaid for their labor. This is a country that prides itself in its coffee, yet many of the workers can’t make ends meet.

Fairtrade ensures livable wages for these people, which in turn ensures that the coffee industry of Ethiopia can be kept afloat – the better off they are, the better their coffee will be!

Roasting Times

Dark roast is probably the traditional favorite for Ethiopian coffee. It makes for great, rich espresso and even if you’re not making espresso, a dark roast in Ethiopian coffee is guaranteed to have great flavor.

Medium roast is also a good choice – it’s slightly sweet, caramelized, and has a roasty quality to it.

Light roasts are not so common but I personally love them. They feel light and are rich in fruit-like flavors, making for a very unique experience.

Regions Famous for Coffee


Yirgacheffe coffee is widely regarded as one of the greatest in the world because of its clear, balanced, and mild taste profile, which includes notes of berries, almonds, chocolate, lemon, and wine.

The berries are grown at around 2,000 meters above sea level and then wet-processed, also known as washed processed, to obtain this clear Ethiopian coffee flavor.


Harar coffee, which comes from Ethiopia’s Eastern highlands, is still hand-sorted and processed.

It contains undertones of fruit and mocha in its flavor profile, but it also has strong wine-like qualities, making for a delicious one-of-a-kind cup that can be savored at any time of day.


Limu coffee is the final Ethiopian coffee kind on our list, though it is far from the last.

This coffee is wet-processed and originates from the Limmu Sakka district.

It’s recognized for being low in acidity, so if you prefer less acidic drinks, it can be the finest beverage to start your day with.


The Sidamo area is said to be the birthplace of coffee.

These beans are produced at altitudes of thousands of feet, giving them a particular taste profile that combines blueberry, citrus, and a subtle nuttiness.

Because this Ethiopian coffee is more acidic, it goes well with a breakfast pastry that balances these tastes and provides sweetness.


The wet technique is also used to make Guji coffee, which results in fruity, flowery, and overall deeper overtones. It’s recognized for being a robust coffee that’ll give you the caffeine boost you need first thing in the morning. Because of its high acidity, it goes well with baked foods to provide sweetness.


The Bench Maji Zone is the only place in Ethiopia where this coffee is cultivated. These beans are distinct in that they are tiny and gray in color. After brewing, you’ll have a cup of coffee with a pleasant scent and notes of chocolate, spice, and wine, making it an excellent dessert companion.

Ethiopia: The Birthplace of Coffee

Ethiopia has historically been a nation of goat herders. And it was thanks to this noble animal that coffee was discovered.

As we briefly mentioned before, the coffee plant grows in the wild in Ethiopia. The coffee plant is a bush, just a little bit taller than an average-sized person, and it has low-hanging berries which contain the coffee bean inside them.

There are many stories about how coffee was discovered. The most famous one is that of a goat herder, Kaldi.

According to legend, while putting his goats out to graze, Kaldi noticed his goats eating the coffee fruit and feeling energetic.

He sampled some out of curiosity but was repulsed by the flavor and threw them in the fire.

Kaldi was thrilled by the scent of roasted coffee as the fire began to roast the seeds, and so coffee was born.

Impact of Climate Change

Rising temperatures may force a total shift in how coffee is grown and collected. Most coffee estates in hotter areas will become unviable when temperatures rise over 30°C, while coffee producers in cooler climes would have to fundamentally change how they farm in order to adapt to the rising heat.

In Ethiopia, these changes are beginning to be seen and it has already started to affect not just the price of the coffee itself, because of less bountiful harvests, but also a decrease in quality.

Best Ways to Brew Ethiopian Coffee

Cold Brew

My favorite way to brew Ethiopian coffee! Since this coffee is so full of fresh flavors, I think cold brew is hands-down the best way to bring them out. Brew Ethiopian coffee this way if you like fruity, pleasantly acidic cups of coffee!

Iced is also a good option, and even though the overall flavor profile will be different, it will still be a better fit for the flavors than piping-hot, cream-having coffee.


The traditional way to make Ethiopian coffee. Espresso is great at getting every single drop of flavor out of coffee, and Ethiopian coffee is full of it!

Espresso gets all of those complex flavors and puts them into a small cup. A sip of Ethiopian espresso is like an explosion of flavor!

Pour Over

Pour over is also a great choice because of the clean brew that lets all of those fruits, and citrus-like flavors shine through.

I highly recommend pour-over and in particular Chemex!

The Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Coffee ceremonies are a significant method for Ethiopians to connect with one another, especially in small towns and villages.

There is a host -a great honor- who will give his home as the venue for the ceremony as well as prepare the coffee, which is normally done by the matriarch or a younger lady in her stead.

The ritual is divided into three parts: the roasting of green coffee, the brewing of the coffee, and the serving of the coffee to the guests.


Where to Find Ethiopian Coffee?

Ethiopian coffee is rather commonplace. Coffee shops use it frequently as Ethiopian coffee is regarded as one of the best for making espresso. Good coffee shops tend to use a lot of this coffee.

But in terms of buying, though, you can find it anywhere essentially. Our list here is a good example of great Ethiopian coffee and you’re sure to find at least one that you love.

Is Ethiopian Coffee Good?

Yes. Yirgacheffe coffee in particular is regarded as one of the best in the world.

What Makes Ethiopian Coffee Different?

Different because there are so many different types of flavor profiles coming from Ethiopia that you just never know what you’re gonna get. One thing’s for sure: it’s going to be yummy! 


Ethiopian coffee is a universe unto itself: this is where coffee was born, and where it still grows wild to this day, with undiscovered coffee types lurking deep in the Ethiopian bush.

I hope this article helped you to find the best Ethiopian coffee and understand more about the importance of Ethiopia in the coffee world.


Marcelo is a filmmaker and passionate barista on the side. He spends his free time cooking up new and exciting recipes – and drinking too much coffee in the process.