Guide to Ethiopia Sidamo Region Coffee

Complex and smooth, Well-balanced, Ethiopian Sidamo is one of the best characteristics of African coffee. Also considered one of the finest coffees globally, Ethiopian Sidamo can be enjoyed both hot and iced and is well worth looking for.

Sidamo coffee facts

  • Country of Origin – Ethiopia
  • Best-known producers – Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union
  • Regions – Kaffa, Sidamo Ethiopia
  • Altitude – 1,500 to 2,200 meters
  • Body – mild
  • Harvest – October to January
  • Aroma – sweet, winey, floral
  • Flavor – super sweet, creamy, earthy with almonds and blueberries
  • Acidity – complex yet balanced, medium
  • Coffee Process – washed, sun-dried
  • Certification – Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade, USDA Organic available.
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Ethiopian Sidamo vs Yirgacheffe

Ethiopian coffees are frequently labeled as Sidamo. Sidamo is a large coffee-growing region in southern Ethiopia, and Yirgacheffe is a small sub-region centered on the same-named village. Yirgacheffe coffees are, in fact, Sidamos.

History

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These beans are cultivated in the southern region in what used to be called the province of Sidamo. This region is also seen as the birthplace of coffee production. According to local legend, a young herder called Kaldi saw his flock become vibrant after consuming some strange red berries.

He felt a massive rush of energy after trying the berries himself. Kaldi had just found some coffee beans. Although this tale’s validity is doubtful, the hypothesis that coffee originated in Africa is likely to be founded on the proof. Coffee beans have been cultivated in the area for centuries and are considered some of the finest in the world.

Farming

Sidamo green coffee is grown in the Sidamo Province of the Ethiopian Highlands between 1500 to 2200 meters above sea level and harvested between October and January. Due to higher altitudes, the growth of beans is sluggish. Although this slows down production, slower growth helps beans consume more soil nutrients and produce a more complex and robust flavor profile.

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Growing regions

Ethiopia’s Sidamo coffees are popular for their rich body that is very nuanced along with a bright and vibrant aftertaste that is reasonably consistent season to season, making it a favorite Ethiopian coffee for any coffee roaster.

Coffee is a crucial component of Ethiopian culture and is celebrated every day at the traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony. If you’d like to know more about the roots of coffee in Ethiopia, you can read the fascinating story of the World’s Best Coffee History.

Since the first coffee discovery, Ethiopia has produced some of the world’s finest premium coffee, spicy and complex with a sweet winey taste and a wild acidity.

Among the most exquisite Ethiopian coffees are the fragrant and spicy Yirgacheffes, which beam with citrus tones and deliver a very delicate body coupled with a lovely sweetness of taste and fruity sweetness of aroma.

Ethiopian Harrar coffees – respected for their strong body and spicy aroma – are also one of the finest specialty coffees in the world, including Shortberry (including smaller coffee beans), Longberry (made up of the largest coffee beans), and Mocha (Moka; Mocca), made up of the finest peaberry coffee beans.

The Harrars are vibrant in a cup with aromatic and fruity notes of acidity and unique winey tones. The spicy and heady aroma is also followed by hints of blackberries and spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and compote, contributing to the residual aftertaste.

Production process

Once selected, the Sidamo beans are wet-processed. Coffee cherries are pushed through a filter using a high rate of water pressure. The process of forcing the cherries through the screen extracts much of the fruit and skin, with just a small amount of pulp remaining. The beans are then left to ferment for about a day in the tanks. The beans are removed and cleaned, washed, and left to dry in the sun. When it is dry, the remaining pulp is stripped off.

Flavor profile

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Similar in several ways to the flavor profile of Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia Sidamo is known for its floral, berry, and citrus notes. When you taste it, expect good notes of tart berries and lemon as well as cane sugar. Where Sidamo varies from Yirgacheffe, there is a marked earthiness. The coffee has a medium body and low acidity, and the finish is bright.

Pairing of food

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As a general rule of thumb, African coffee appears to match incredibly best with fruit. Citrus fruit, in particular, can bring out the dynamic notes of this coffee. We recommend combining a fresh cup of Sidamo with lemon or citrus type desserts. If you do not too much citrus, you can opt in for blueberries.

Challenges of the Ethiopian coffee production

Climate change is a huge threat to Ethiopia’s coffee production, especially due to the rising incidence and drought. New weather conditions are severely affecting agriculture, which accounts for 85 percent of the population.

The 2017 report published in Nature notes that “39–59 per cent of the current growing area could undergo climate change that is large enough to make it unsuitable for coffee farming in the absence of significant interventions or major factors of influence.”

Getahun says that the industry is also threatened by inadequate access to the Fairtrade sector, poor implementation of lack of income diversification, good agricultural practices, lack of market information, and high production cost, among other issues.

He says, “Unsustainable consumption is a struggle for farmers to cover the cost of sustainable production. We can see the new market players selling less than US $1 per pound of ethically grown coffee. Subsequently, this prohibits consumers and importers from ethically sourcing. Fairtrade initiatives, along with civil society, are working actively to improve customer understanding of sustainability and responsible consumption.”

Andualem tells me that ‘coffee market fluctuations and other policy issues affect cooperative enterprises, and YCFCU is looking for a way to resolve them.’ This includes the building of roasting and grinding machines to enable producers to roast and grind their coffee. “The new value addition project is primarily to supply our product at roasted and ground level to those corners of the entire planet that have not been tackled in our green product,” he says.

Best Sidamo coffee beans

However, I wanted to pick coffee beans labeled as Sidamo versus Yirgacheffe in this article since I would be writing another article about that smaller region.

Fresh Roasted Coffee, Organic Ethiopian Sidamo Light Roast, Fair Trade Kosher, Whole Bean, 5 Pound
3,188 Reviews
Fresh Roasted Coffee, Organic Ethiopian Sidamo Light Roast, Fair Trade Kosher, Whole Bean, 5 Pound
  • ORGANIC ETHIOPIAN SIDAMO COFFEE IS TRULY EXCEPTIONAL With An Earthy Flavor and Notes of Blueberry. An Exceptional Choice For Every Coffee Lover.
  • USDA ORGANIC. FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED. Single-Origin From Sidamo, Ethiopia. Light Roast. Naturally Processed & Dried on Raised Beds.
  • COFFEE FOR EVERYBODY - Sustainably Sourced and Proudly Roasted, Blended, and Packaged in USA.
  • ALL OUR COFFEES ARE ROASTED in Our Environmentally Friendly Loring Roaster to Reduce Our Carbon Footprint.
  • AVAILABLE IN WHOLE BEAN AS 12 OZ, 2 LB, and 5 LB Bags.
ATIKEM Organic Ethiopian Sidamo Coffee Ground, Creamy Medium Roast, Premium Arabica Coffee, Organic Fairtrade Coffee - Ground 12 ounce (1 Pack)
227 Reviews
ATIKEM Organic Ethiopian Sidamo Coffee Ground, Creamy Medium Roast, Premium Arabica Coffee, Organic Fairtrade Coffee - Ground 12 ounce (1 Pack)
  • ✓ 100% Premium Arabica Ground Coffee - A Medium roast coffee perfect for filter or french press. We take great pride in our premium USDA Certified Organic and Fair Trade single origin coffee beans.
  • ✓ Clean & Antioxidant Rich - Organic coffee has a higher rate of antioxidants than green tea or cocoa. Our organic process ensures no chemicals are used that are harmful to your body. Giving you a cleaner and great tasting coffee.
  • ✓ Natural Metabolism Boost - Our 100% premium arabica organic ground coffee helps boost your metabolism. Perfect for that energy boost morning, noon or night.
  • ✓ Increased Energy and Focus - Caffeine aids to improve your productivity and results. Keeping you alert throughout the day reducing tiredness and fatigue.
  • ✓ Creamy Sweet Taste – Our unique roasting process creates a creamy sweet coffee unlike any other coffee. Roasted & Packed in the USA.
Barbarossa Ethiopian Sidamo Coffee -Natural Premium Quality Handcrafted - Light Roasted - Low Acidity Sweet Fruity Aroma Whole Beans | 2019 Neighborhood Favorite Award
13 Reviews
Barbarossa Ethiopian Sidamo Coffee -Natural Premium Quality Handcrafted - Light Roasted - Low Acidity Sweet Fruity Aroma Whole Beans | 2019 Neighborhood Favorite Award
  • Award Winning Coffee : Barbarossa Coffee been awarded from nextdoor app by the consumers rates in 2017-2018-2019. It means you are purchasing a high end handcrafted artisan roasted specialty coffee bean
  • High Cupping Score with Amazing Tasting Notes: Ethiopian Sidamo Coffee beans have Strong Notes of Cherry, Strawberry, Chocolate. Sun-Dried Aroma Slightly Earthy Flavor, Good Body- Low acidity. Ethiopian Sidamo is made with Natural premium quality Arabica coffee beans from Sidamo Region of Ethiopia
  • We Brew With Love: It all started with the dream of Coffeeman and Navy veteran Ozzy Guragac. Ethiopian Sidamo This Sweet and Fruity Flavor has Low Acidity Making It Perfect for Many Brewing Methods : drip machines, espresso maker, French press, Aeropress, pour over and moka po
  • Natural Premium Quality: Barbarossa Coffee try to develop more varieties of coffee so that you can select the coffee bean and brewing method of your choice, and it’s possible to customize your blend of coffee beans and even take your own blend home
  • Your Trust Is Our Priority: Barbarossa coffee beans are roasted to perfection in order to ensure impeccable taste. We believe so deeply in our product that if you don’t love our coffee, we’ll fully refund the order, no questions asked

If you prefer to roast your own beans, here’s Lavanta Coffee Roasters:

Lavanta Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Sidamo Direct Trade Coffee, Green, 2 lb
814 Reviews
Lavanta Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Sidamo Direct Trade Coffee, Green, 2 lb
  • The name, Coffee, is derived from the Kaffa region in Ethiopia
  • The first Arabica tree was found growing in the wild in the forests of the south-western highlands of Kaffa and Buno districts
  • This product is manufactured in United States

If you click on the Amazon link or Add to Cart and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Update: 2021-09-17

nv-author-image

Self-proclaimed coffee drinker. I would, on a typical day, start my day by grinding my coffee with a manual grinder and use a French Press as a starter (2 cups), then a pour-over in the afternoon (4 cups). I had my fair share as a barista but I prefer to drink it, not serve it.