Ethiopia’s Forest Coffee: An Illustrated Guide


 | Virtual Launch Event

Watch the worldwide launch of Ethiopia’s Forest Coffee: An Illustrated Guide . The first edition of this guide is an innovative resource for coffee buyers and enthusiasts around the world to learn more about Ethiopia’s exciting forest coffee.

At this exciting virtual launch event, TechnoServe convened a panel of experts spanning the breadth of the coffee supply chain to discuss these extraordinary coffees and the critical role coffee forests play.

The lively discussion featured: • TechnoServe • Partnerships for Forests • Ethiopian Coffee & Tea Authority • Falcon Coffee • Kew Royal Botanical Gardens •

Ethiopia’s remaining coffee forests serve as a natural genetic bank for Arabica varietals, protect biodiverse habitats, and sustain the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers who harvest the extraordinary coffees that grow wild there.


Watch the Virtual Launch Below:


Kosokol Coop - Cherry Drying

Ethiopia’s Forest Coffee

Long before coffee was cultivated around the globe, before it became one of the world’s most traded commodities, and before it became the backbone of industries and economies, the plant grew wild in Ethiopia’s dense forests.

It still does. Ethiopia’s remaining coffee forests serve as a natural genetic bank for Arabica varietals, protect biodiverse habitats, and sustain the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers who harvest the extraordinary coffees that grow wild there. But these forests are under threat from a growing population that needs access to timber and agricultural land.


The communities that depend on the forests are organizing to protect these vital resources. Working together as Participatory Forest Management Committees (PFMCs), community members are establishing and enforcing rules for how the forest can be used. 

Cooperatives are building awareness among their members about how to protect the woodlands. And governments — local, regional, and national — are promoting more responsible uses for the forests as part of broader environmental sustainability efforts.

Shesheka Coop Leaders

Aligning Corporate and Community Priorities

The coffee industry can also play a role in preserving these forests. By creating a premium market for the distinct, high-quality coffees that come from the forests, the sector can create a strong corporate sustainability incentive for communities to protect these coffee forests.

Since 2018, TechnoServe has worked in conjunction with Partnerships for Forests, a program funded by the United Kingdom government, to raise awareness of these extraordinary coffees with international coffee buyers and retailers.

style=”font-weight: 400;”>TechnoServe and its partner CoQua Trading PLC cupped multiple lots of forest coffee and created profiles for 84 private and cooperative mills in five forest-coffee-producing zones of Ethiopia; samples from many of the best lots were provided directly to buyers. We hope to bridge the distance between coffee farmers in Ethiopia and coffee lovers around the world. 

Simultaneously, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has been working to improve quality and traceability of forest coffee in Ethiopia. GIZ works with PFMCs to deliver training to cooperative members and field experts on improved harvesting practices and making improvements to the methods of drying to improve bean quality, helping ensure quality coffee for the global market. 

 | Explore Interactive Forest Coffee Maps

The following interactive Forest Coffee Map features 17 protected coffee forests in the Oromia Region, the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ (SNNP) Region, and the Gambela Region of Ethiopia. You can use the navigation call-out box at the bottom of the map to explore forest coffee in the five highlighted zones of Illubabor, Jimma, Kaffa, Bench Sheko, and Bale.  The “Legend” icon in the top right corner provides more details about the map features for each view. 

Explore the Map

map graphic for ethiopia forest coffee

Tayer Malim-Sali, a Magnate cooperative member and former chairman, has harvested forest coffee his entire life. “Growing up, I have seen coffee and forest living together,” he says. He knows the appeal of his organic wild-grown coffee to international markets and even visited Italy, Spain, and Dubai after exporting his coffee there.

For Tayer and others in his community, the forest is more than just a source of income. In times of illness, people drink coffee with honey and use a mixture of coffee grounds and honey as a topical treatment. “Our coffee is a gift,” he says.




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