Single-origin coffee from Ethiopia has set the world abuzz. Head to one of these U.S. roasteries to sample the cream of the crop.
Over the past decade, coffee connoisseurs in the United States have become obsessed with how beans are sourced and roasted around the world. Countries like Guatemala, Colombia, and Indonesia are famous for producing top-notch single-origin coffee. But no country’s history with coffee dates back further than Ethiopia’s, where the first arabica plant was found dozens of centuries ago in the southern Kaffa region.
Today, Ethiopia is the largest coffee producer in Africa. The country’s coffee beans are sold in roasteries around the world, including in Third Wave coffee shops, where coffee is bought directly from individual farms and collectives.
In Third Wave coffee shops, you can essentially order a roast that’s traveled directly from the Horn of Africa’s cloud forests to the cup in your hand. Here’s where to find some of the best Ethiopian coffee in the United States.
U.S. Locations: New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, Washington D.C., and the San Francisco Bay Area
Founded by James Freeman in Oakland, California, Blue Bottle pioneered the practice of delivering its beans to consumers within 48 hours of roasting. In addition to its beans from Ethiopia’s Yirgacheffe region, Blue Bottle sells single-origin coffees, including Kemgin (with hints of peach, sugarcane, spice, and tea) and Nekisse (blackberries, huckleberries, and sugared lemon slices).
Counter Culture Coffee
U.S. Locations: New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Charleston, Chicago, Durham, and more
Beans from three Ethiopian cooperatives come to the United States via Counter Culture, a certified-organic roaster based in Durham, North Carolina. The Haru co-op in Ethiopia’s Yirgacheffe district experiments with different wash processes and fermentation times to produce a bright, lemony coffee with notes of jasmine. Every Friday at 10 a.m., Counter Culture training centers hold coffee tastings that are free and open to the public.
U.S. Locations: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Boston
At Intelligentsia’s coffee bars across the United States, you can sample single-origin coffees from organic cooperatives in Ethiopia. Intelligentsia’s coffee buying team prioritizes direct trade with independent and sustainable farmers. Vice president and coffee buyer Geoff Watts recommends drinking simple filtered brews to best appreciate the complex and fruity flavors.
Laughing Man Coffee
U.S. Locations: New York City
The espresso blend “Dukale’s Dream” pays tribute to the Ethiopian coffee farmer who inspired actor Hugh Jackman to found this roastery in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood. The Kochere-region beans deliver a robust flavor that stands up to frothy milk in Laughing Man’s signature flat white, which has more espresso and less milk than a latté.
U.S. Locations: Portland, Seattle, New York City, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Chicago
Since its 1999 opening in Portland, Oregon, Stumptown has been pouring a stonefruit-tinged floral coffee sourced from the Duromina cooperative in western Ethiopia’s Jimma region. You can also now taste the Mordecofe blend, an organic variety grown in the country’s Guji Zone near the Kenyan border.
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