Ethiopia Kaffa Forest


Dark chocolate, molasses, exotic spices with a hint of stone fruit and jasmine scented coffee flower. Vibrant citrus acidity.


Ethiopia is home to Arabica coffee. Its original habitat, the lush montane cloud forests in the Southwest of the country, is one of immense biodiversity. It contains the greatest genetic diversity of coffee; thousands of varieties grow wild in the forest understorey, situated between 1000-2000 MASL.  Indigenous communities have been utilizing wild coffee for centuries, and the art of preparing coffee is a central element in Ethiopian culture.

This region was once home to an early medieval state known as the Kingdom of Kaffa. The Anglicized spelling, commonly known as “coffee,” is rooted in this word. Kaffa is now a zone in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Regional State (SNNPRS), with Bonga town serving as its administrative and cultural center.

This is home to Mekonnen Gebresilase, the producer of this coffee. His coffee, consisting of local heirloom varieties, is grown between 1500-1650 masl. Once harvested, his coffee is produced using the most traditional method, called natural process. This involves picking the coffee cherries at their peak ripeness and spreading them on raised drying tables to dry to a raisin-like state.  The coffee must be carefully raked and monitored to ensure it does not spoil. Once ideal moisture content has been achieved it is sent to a dry mill for final processing and export.

Other points of interest are Bonga’s National Coffee Museum and the UNESCO designated Kafa Biosphere Reserve, which serves to protect a surrounding area of 760,000 KM.

In 2008, Caffe Fantastico’s owner Ryan and our Head Roaster Derek travelled to Ethiopia on a pilgrimage to experience and learn more about its coffee culture, and to pay homage to this important coffee origin. This trip has led to establishing strong trading relationships and sourcing countless exceptional coffees, including this beloved staple.

To learn more about this area, we invite you to visit or