From Ethiopia’s Wild Forests to Your Morning Mug: The Coffee Bean’s Journey

by | Sep 1, 2023 | Personal Insights | 2 comments

Many of us start our mornings with a warm cup of coffee, letting its aroma and taste wake up our senses. But have you ever paused to think about the complex journey that your coffee beans went through before reaching your cup? Inspired by the brilliant infographic by Dan Zettwoch, and my recent exploration into the world of Ethiopian coffee, let’s embark on this fascinating journey together. I have shared this infographic before, but I thought it would be worth using it once again, as it is so great.

1. Growing: The Birth of a Bean

Coffee begins its life in the form of a berry. This berry houses two seeds, which we popularly recognise as coffee beans. Particularly in Ethiopia, a large portion of the coffee is cultivated on small plots of land by dedicated smallholder farmers. What’s even more intriguing is the region’s renowned wild forest coffee, a unique and delectable variant.

2. Picking: A Journey through Forests

Especially within the lush forests of Ethiopia, the act of picking these berries is no small task. It often involves spending days on end, handpicking each berry when it’s ripe and ready for processing.

3. Processing: Crafting the Flavour

The way a coffee bean is processed greatly influences its final flavour:

  • Dry Processing: This method involves sun-drying the berries. Over a span of 2-4 weeks, they naturally shed their outer skin.
  • Wet Processing: This technique uses water to soak the berries. Once soaked, they’re fermented, washed, and then dried.

4. Milling: Preparing for the Roast

Post processing, these dried berries undergo various procedures such as hulling, cleaning, sorting, and grading to prepare them for the roasting phase.

5. Roasting: Giving Coffee its Soul

It’s during the roasting phase that the ‘green beans’ from origin countries are transformed. They are roasted closer to consumer markets, each roast introducing a distinct flavour unique to the respective brand.

6. Packaging & 7. Shipping: The Global Voyage

After roasting, these beans are efficiently packed and set off on their journey to reach coffee lovers around the globe.

8. Grinding & 9. Brewing: An Art and a Craft

Once at their final destination, the beans are ground down to the right consistency. The brewing process, overseen by skilled baristas and facilitated by precise machinery, ensures every cup is a masterpiece.

10. Drinking: The Moment of Truth

And finally, the stage every coffee enthusiast eagerly waits for. With every sip, you’re tasting a blend of tradition, dedication, and passion.

As I eagerly prepare for my visit to the Oromia Coffee Union in Ethiopia, I anticipate delving deeper and gaining even richer insights into the world of coffee. I invite you to join me on this adventure and stay tuned for real-time updates from the heart of coffee culture.

Image credits: Dan Zettwoch


  1. Joost van der Voort

    Looking forward to your experience visiting the OCU!


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