There are four types of coffee production systems in Ethiopia: Forest coffee, Semi- forest coffee, Garden coffee and Plantation coffee. 95% of the total production of coffee in Ethiopia can be considered organic.
These systems are mainly classified as such, due to the varying levels of plants associated with coffee, the nature of the tree regeneration and also the human intervention in the production. Coffee grows at various altitudes ranging from 550- 2750m.a.s.l
Washed coffee in Ethiopia started back in the 1950s, slowly introduced by a Belgian Concern that had established coffee estates. It represents about 25% of the Total Ethiopian production although this is changing, as more and more regions and stations are producing washed coffee. Washing stations across the country, use the River Waters to process and ferment the coffee in cement tanks.
Most predominant and world known washed coffees are Limu, Yirgachefe and Sidamo, but nowdays Bebeka, Teppi, Yeki, Bench Maji, and of course Ethiopian Geisha are coming into light.
75% of the total Ethiopian Coffee production is still sundried or otherwise known as natural Coffee. This process, involves cherries to be dried directly on elevated African beds, or on cement floors. The majority of the sundried production in Ethiopia is coming from Djimmah, Lekempti, Sidamo and Harar. A new trend for Specialty Sundried coffee pushes high end coffees of this method to be produced all across the country.
Semi Washed coffee is rarely practiced in Ethiopia. It is a system mostly used in Central America where weather conditions are really adverse during the processing. However with the growth of exotic flavor profiles, more and more washing stations are venturing with this process and experimenting.