Coffee Chains Prove Addis is Still Thirsty for Brew

Garden Coffe, a new entrants in the coffee market, has a passion to share Ethiopian culture through coffee that is grown and processed by local roasters. (photo: Addis Fortune)

Addis Abeba’s cafe culture stretches across all walks of life. At any time of day, the City’s cafes are teeming with customers who stop in between appointments, or even conduct business over a cup of coffee. Lingering for a morning over a newspaper rented or bought from wandering vendors and speaking to friends is a popular way to spend time for both locals and tourists in Addis.

“I have been a customer from the beginning. The coffee here has a special taste,” says Daniel Gebremaryam, a customer at Abyssinia Coffee. “The space is wider and you can spend a long time over coffee than in other places.”

Abyssinia Coffee began exporting coffee in 1990, and opened a coffee shop in Addis two years ago. So far, it operates in two locations. “We process coffee for the local market, which is sold in our café, after being ground and packaged,” explained Abiy Demise, export Manager. “But we do not get the standard of coffee that we want because the government does not allow the use of export standard coffee locally..”

Lately there has been a boom in the number of coffee shop chains spreading across the city. They include Kaldi’s Cafe, Bilo’s, and Abyssinia Coffee. The majority of these coffee shop chains also sell processed coffee which has been roasted and ground on both the local and international markets.

Many locals crave their daily fix of coffee, consuming an estimated 140,000 tons yearly, so it’s no wonder that coffee shops, including Abyssinia Coffee, have increased significantly over the last several years. (photo: Addis Fortune)

“The 25 years of experience that we have in the sector will help us to be competitive in the coffee market, which will help generate foreign currency,” says Andamlak Ashenafi, Abyssinia’s coffee sales manager. Even though Abyssinia does not export their coffee, it has found a significant demand on the local market, and amongst tourists in Addis.

Coffee is a longstanding tradition in Ethiopia, where the Arabica coffee bean, also known as coffea arabica, originated. Although the plant is now grown in various parts of the world Ethiopia is the largest coffee producer in sub Saharan Africa and the fifth largest coffee producer in the world next to Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, and Indonesia, contributing about seven to 10pc of total world coffee production.

Ethiopia’s annual coffee production is approximately 280,000 metric tons. Even with nearly half of this total being consumed domestically, exports for the most recent year were 146,500 MT, one-third of which was washed.

Coffee is still Ethiopia’s top export and brings in a third of the country’s foreign exchange. But the coffee market process in Ethiopia is highly affected by contraband trade that not only affects the local market, but also affects foreign income flows from export.

Read more at: Addis Fortune