Ethiopia is the homeland of Arabica coffee: Various legends have been adopted to explain the origins of coffee. They all have in common the fact that Ethiopia is heralded as that place where coffee was first discovered. The most popular legend goes back to the 3rd century. Here it is said that a young goat herder, named Kaldi in oriental literature, noticed to his amazement that after chewing the bright red berries from a tree his goats pranced in an unusually energetic manner. Kaldi tried the berries and enjoyed their stimulating effect. A monk noticed Kaldi and decided to try the berries with his friars. They all felt alert during their night prayers. As news of the stimulating effect of the berry spread, people began chewing the berry before prayer, boiling it down to drink of 'white coffee', and later roasting it to drink black coffee or to mix with butter to create a stimulating food.
Coffee spreads throughout Ethiopia: With ideal growing conditions in the East, South and Western areas of the country, coffee developed rapidly. Altitude, ample rainfall, suitable temperature, and fertile soil all assist Ethiopia to continue providing the world with wonderful Arabica coffee. It is natural that Ethiopia, the home of coffee, should illustrate its success. Varieties of washed and sundried/natural coffees are available to satisfy the varied tastes of consumers at home and throughout the world.
Over 400, 000 hectares of land to the West, South and East of Addis Ababa above 3600 feet are planted with Arabica coffee. About 80% of Ethiopia's exports are natural (sundried) Arabica coffees, the rest is washed. The only coffee plantations in Ethiopia exist in Limu, Bebeka and Teppi. All other coffee (over 95%) is grown by small garden farmers or wild in forests. Farmers inter-crop with other product in order to ensure their coffee is shade grown, and to provide them with financial security if coffee prices are low.
Coffee accounts for some 65% of Ethiopia's foreign exchange earnings, and it probably employs near to 10% of the population. As a result coffee must certainly rank as Ethiopia's most important export! Ethiopia aims to export some 2.5 million bags of coffee per year. However our total production is estimated at 4 million bags, which shows Ethiopia is a strong consumer as well as producer.
Coffee is central to the lives of all Ethiopians. In the countryside where some people live a day's walk from a main road coffee is often the only beverage of choice. In addition it is also still roasted, ground, mixed with butter, and made into balls to be eaten for sustenance during the working day. In the cities, as well as in the countryside, coffee is drunk with friends, family, on special occasions, or simply out of choice. Coffee is everywhere!
Day 01: Arrival at Addis Abeba
On arrival in Addis Ababa you will meet Stone Age tour and travel representative and transferred to your hotel. After lunch a tour of Addis Ababa has been arranged this will include the National Museum to see “Lucy”, the oldest hominid fossil as well as other archeological findings. Also visit the Entoto Mountains and the site of the former capital. From here enjoy the panoramic view of Addis Ababa spread out below. Leaving the summit visit the octagonal Entoto Mariam Church. Return to Addis Ababa via the markets of Merkato, the largest open air market in Africa. Overnight: at current best hotel.
Day 02: Addis Ababa-Jimma
After breakfast, drive to the southwestern highlands and the town of Jimma in the Kaffa region. The southwestern region is quite distinct from other regions in Ethiopia. Here you’ll see a mixture of broad grasslands, terraced hillsides and broad rivers and forests. The area is famous for coffee and Kaffa (the province) is said to be where the original wild plants were found. Jimma is the commercial centre for the coffee produced in this region. Overnight Hotel at Jimma.
Day 03: Jimma-Bebeka
Pack an overnight bag and head out to Mizan Tefari and the Bebeke Coffee Plantation (30k from Mizan Tefari). Bebeka Coffee Plantation covers some 6,000 hectares and is the largest and oldest Coffee Plantation in Ethiopia. There will be a tour of the plantation which will include the organic coffee plantation and the experimental spice and fruit plantations. Beehives have been established and the honey is highly recommended. Overnight in the Bebeka Guesthouse – a comfortable lodge set in the plantation and home to a wide variety of birdlife. Explore the surrounding forest before dining in the canteen.
Day 04: Bebeka-Gerra-Jimma
This morning head for Gerra and the forest coffee area that is still owned by the family of the former king of the Kaffa region, Abba Jiffar. A member of the family will escort you around the estate including the Abajifar Museum and Palace. Return to Jimma and your overnight accommodation.
Day 05: Jimma-Sodo
After breakfast depart Jimma heading for Sodo passing over the Omo River at Bele Bridge The drive will take you past more coffee plants growing in the forest. Overnight at chosen hotel.
Day 06: Sodo-YirgaAlem
This morning precede to Yirgalem, stopping en route for lunch at Hawasa, the capital of the old Sidamo province. Overnight: Aregash Lodge
Stone age Tour and Travel Provides special Interest service for Educational Tours and Backpack Travelers Care
Stone Age Tour and Travel P.L.C rents the safest and most comfortable vehicles at very fair prices. We are also engaged in selling air transport service on behalf of a number of carriers ...