A beginners guide to coffee: Ethiopian Harrar

Along with Yirgacheffe, Ethiopian Harrar is considered to be one of the best coffees in the world. This reputation is well deserved: Harrar is spicy and full-bodied with an almost wine-like texture and taste.

Region and growing conditions


Harrar coffee beans are one of the oldest still in production. The beans are harvested and processed by hand. Not only is the bean used for coffee, but the shells are also used to make hasher-qahwa, a quintessentially Ethiopian tea.



Harrar is grown at an elevation of 1510 – 2120 meters above sea level in the Oromia region of southern Ethiopia. Unlike Yirgacheffe, which is wet processed, Harrar is dry processed. In dry processing, the coffee fruit is harvested from the trees and then left to dry in the sun. Once the fruit has dried, it is peeled away leaving the exposed coffee bean. The dry process imparts the flavors of the fruit into the bean itself and is a crucial aspect of the overall taste.

Flavor profile



Ethiopian Harrar coffee is extremely bold and full-bodied with a dry fruitiness that is reminiscent of red wine. Along with the fruity notes, Harrar has a notable floral taste with hints of jasmine in the finish. Along with the general fruitiness, expect to taste hints of blueberries and apricot.



Harrar coffee beans vary in size and the size of the bean can affect on the flavor. Long berry beans are the largest and considered to be the most flavorful. Shortberry beans are smaller while Peaberry is the smallest.

Food pairings



Ethiopian Harrar can be enjoyed hot or iced and is a great coffee to pair with a variety of foods. In general, dishes with berries pair very well with Ethiopian coffees. A berry-based fruit salad goes very will Harrar as do fruitcakes and pies.

Oatmeal with raisins will really bring out the fruit flavors of Harrar, as will a peach cobbler.

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