Single Origin: Ethiopia

Ah we love our Single Origin coffee and this S.O is something a little bit special. It is said that coffee was born in Ethiopia and ever since, beans that come from this part of the world have been exceptional.

Ethiopian Coffee History

Picture this… it’s around 850AD, you’re a goat herder in Ethiopia tending to your bleating flock when suddenly you get this rad idea – cappuccino! latte! flat white! piccolo latte! Ah maybe it didn’t really happen like that but in 850AD it is said that a lonely goat herder, Kald saw his goats chowing down on wild grown coffee cherries and decided to try a couple himself. He felt on top of the world – yep that caffeine hit really gave him an ancient buzz! So he took the berries to a bunch of monks who thought they were evil so they chucked them in a nearby fire. Suddenly the aroma of freshly brewed coffee hit their nostrils and they scooped out the crusty beans, soaked them in hot water and drank to their heart’s content – not realising the incredible beverage they had helped create.

Slowly but surely drinkable coffee made its way through Africa and up into the Middle East where the first coffee houses were established in Mecca. From there coffee travelled to Sri Lanka, eventually landing in the hands of some savvy Venetian traders who took it to Europe. And the rest is history.

Sacred Grounds Ethiopian Producers

Today, Ethiopia is one of the best places on earth to source quality coffee beans. But it’s not just the amazing coffee that we’re interested in but the people behind it. Meet the farmers of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (OCFCU). Formed in 1999 this co op has been Fairtrade Certified since 2002 – so you know that the coffee you’re drinking is having a positive impact on farmers and the community around them. The OCFCU has 240 member co ops with 208,728 workers, counting the incredible number (22,302) of female farmers.

This co op is the largest of its kind in Ethiopia, producing 65% of the nation’s coffee beans in the Oromia State of southern and southwest Ethiopia. This region has beautiful rainforests and impressive mountains which makes it the ideal place to grow such incredible coffee.

Most of the coffee farmed by OCFCU members is grown under stunning canopies of native Acacia and Oak trees – a haven for birds. This environment creates natural fertilising from decaying leaves and plants which means there’s no need for chemicals. Other plants such as ginger, papaya, cardamom and sweet potatoes are grown alongside the coffee plants creating a harmonious, aromatic, perfect environment for growing coffee.

Ethiopian Single Origin Coffee

Which brings us to our own Ethiopian Single Origin coffee. We love this coffee so much we actually have two S.Os from this part of the world, our Ethiopia Limu and Ethiopia Yirgaheffe.

Ethiopia Limu – This medium roast bean is a beauty brimming with flavours of lime, stone fruit and just a hint of spice. Ideal for plunger coffee or your favourite version of espresso, this zesty coffee is sure to hit the spot. Order your Ethiopia Limu here…

Ethiopia Yirgaheffe – A beautifully light roast bean, this Single Origin exhibits a clean, floral, lemony flavour combination, perfect for cold brew coffee. It’s an ideal coffee to use with your Aeropress, Plunger, Chemex or V60. Order your Ethiopia Yirgaheffee here…

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Get Your Blend Bundle On!

All of our coffee blends have been beautifully and carefully curated by our Master Roaster, a former French chef, no less. This is why they’re so darn smooth, well balanced and simply delicious. Having four amazing blends to choose from, you’re really spoilt for choice – yep, you can enjoy the variety of flavour notes one after the other with our Blend Bundle. What’s it all about? Read on…

Sacred Grounds Coffee Blend Bundle

Sacred Blend

We searched the world east to west, north to south to find the most exotic, the best quality, the greatest tasting beans in the globe and we found them. Our Organic Fairtrade Sacred Blend is our signature blend sourcing beans from Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Peru and Nicaragua. It really is a crowd pleaser! Check out the specs below…

Tasting Notes: Sharp, clean acidity with a sweet and spicy aftertaste and a long dark chocolate finish
Variety:  Arabica
Roast:    Medium

Spirit Blend

Besides tasting the goods, our Spirit Blend is all about Sustainability. These particular beans have been sourced from farms focussing on eco-friendly growing and harvesting techniques as well as sustainable farming practices so you can enjoy a guilt-free cuppa. With delectable beans from Ethiopia and Sumatra, this blend is sure to lift your spirits!

Tasting Notes: Floral and fruity front notes, caramel middle and deep dark chocolate finish
Variety:  Arabica
Roast:    Medium

Neighbours Blend

Sourced from our closest coffee cohorts, our Neighbours Blend isn’t just a fab tasting coffee but it’s also the blend with the lowest carbon footprint. Compared to their more international coffee cousins, these beans haven’t had to travel so far to reach our fair shores which means less pollution, petrol and impact on the environment = win! Our Neighbours Blend proudly features beans from Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Sumatra delivering a smooth, nutty beverage time after time.

Tasting Notes: Subtle berry characteristics with a nutty aftertaste
Variety: Arabica
Roast: Moderately Dark

Moonlight Blend

Our last blend is a bit of a special character; not decaf and not fully caffeinated, our Moonlight Blend is the perfect compromise. This low caffeine coffee combines beans from Mexico (decaf), Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Peru and Nicaragua to create a sweet, smooth coffee you can enjoy day or night.

Tasting Notes: Hints of cocoa and spice with a pleasant caramel aftertaste
Variety: Arabica
Roast: Medium

Keen to try all four blends? Order your Sacred Grounds Organic Fairtrade Blend Bundle right here…

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Shade vs Sun Grown Coffee

We’re following on from last week’s blog, digging into the differences between shade and sun grown coffee. Why does it matter? What are the real differences and implications for taste, quality and sustainability?

Keep on the Shady Side

Since the discovery of coffee in the 11th century, crops have generally been grown under a wide variety of shady trees and plants. Canopies protect plants from the sun and create a haven for plants to thrive side-by-side with native plants and animals. Birds are particularly important in this process as they act as pest controllers; in fact research has suggested that without our feathery friends there would be a 70% increase in Coffee Berry Borer beetle and another study found that there would be 30-64% more caterpillars.

Fun fact, there are actually three ways to grow shade-grown coffee:

Rustic: where crops are planted in established habitats with natural plants
Traditional Polyculture: plants are integrated into existing forests along with fruit/vegetable crops to supplement farmers’ incomes
Commercial Polyculture: Native plants are replaced with coffee plants, often growing under taller trees to provide shade.

Environmental Hero

Diverse shade grown coffee makes up 25% of the world’s coffee crops with 35% in part shade/sun and 40% in full sun. The environmental benefits for shade grown coffee is crucial when we think about the future of coffee. How?

1. Less pesticides leaching into soil and waterways
2. Erosion is reduced, protecting the quality of soil
3. Foliage from surrounding trees and plants act as a natural fertiliser
4. Remove carbon from the atmosphere
5. Reduce temperatures by retaining rainfall, ensuring the longevity & health of plants.

Sun-Drenched Plantations

Coffee was never meant to be grown in full sun, however 20% of the world’s coffee beans use this method creating the good old Robusta bean. Thanks to an increase in demand, some farmers have embraced this way of farming as sun-grown crops have a greater yield, although the lifespan of crops is usually a lot less than their shady cousins.

The environmental impact of sun-grown coffee is considerable, leading to…

  • deforestation – clearing native plants/trees to make room for high yield, fast growing coffee plants
  • an increase in fertilisers – with no natural leaves etc to provide nutrients, farmers must resort to nitrogen fuelled fertilisers
  • more herbicides – more weeds mean more chemicals to keep them at bay
  • poor soil conditions – exposed to sun, heat, chemicals and erosion from downpours, this soil also leaches chemicals into nearby waterways causing pollution
  • an increase in plant turnover – sun grown crops only last 15 years, while shade grown survive for 30 years

The only real benefit of sun-grown coffee plants is their higher yield. More coffee to meet the growing global demand. But this has resulted in a lower quality bean, more bitterness, less flavour varieties. This is why we use Arabica, shade-grown coffee at Sacred Grounds.

Taste & See

To taste the difference, why not try one of our Fairtrade Organic Single Origins:

  • Australia – displays characters of spiced berry, sweet caramel and chocolate.
  • East Timor –  A sweet spicy cup with notes of cloves, leather, tobacco and pepper; a bright orange acidity and a silky body leading a long malt, burnt toffee and walnut finish.
  • Ethiopia Limu – Citrus lime acidity, notes of stone fruit with a hint of spice
  • Ethiopia Yirgaheffe – Very clean, sweet, delicate floral notes, light lemony aromatics
  • Nicaragua – Chocolate, sweet aroma, citrus tones, honeyed, bright medium acidity, well rounded cup.
  • Papua New Guinea – Chocolate, nutty flavour with a slightly fruity finish of cherry undertones and hints of vanilla. Balanced and smooth aftertaste.
  • Peru – Displays herbaceous overtones with a soft chocolate finish
  • Sumatra Gayo – Delicate aroma of blackcurrant, followed by hints of dark cocoa and soft spice. Bright tangy acidity.

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Why Organic Coffee Matters

We love all things organic, from fresh produce to organic supermarket items but did you know that coffee is one of the most chemically drenched products in the world? This is why we only use organically grown coffee beans from reputable producers throughout the world. Chemicals not only mess with our bodies, our health but impact ecosystems and the future of the coffee industry as a whole.

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Going WILD with Kombucha

If you’ve never tried this fabulous bevvy then I tell you, it’s a MUST! Not only does it taste the goods but it’s also incredibly healthy – like superwoman/man/batman/hero healthy! But what does it have to do with coffee, you might ask… well our friends at Wild Kombucha by Ballsy actually use Sacred Grounds coffee in one of their mighty brews!

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It’s Organic Awareness Month!

How organic-aware are you? Do you often choose organic products over their alternatives or does it depend on what you’re buying? Let’s face it, we all get stuck in shopping habits, buying the same brands over and over again without giving the organic aisle a second glance. But once you compare organic varieties to the mainstream versions, you’ll never think twice about your choice again.

Organic Coffee vs Non-Organic

Take coffee for example! Did you know that the coffee plant is one of the most chemically drenched crops around? This impacts everything from the soil, the local water supply, the beans themselves and the taste of the coffee. Think of how much coffee we consume every day… why put chemicals into your body if you don’t have to? Organic coffee has been proven to taste better as beans absorbed flavours from the environment around them and no one wants to drink coffee that tastes like fly spray!

Trust Issues

The ‘organic’ label has been misused by some organisations who simply add it to their packaging with very little to no accountability. The great thing about the Australian Organic ‘bud’ logo, however, is that it indicates that the organic product you’re buying can be trusted. Products that display this label go through a strict certification process and ongoing checks. Every organisation involved in the processes of a wide variety of products is tracked and analysed so that nothing falls through the cracks. There are many ‘hoops’ to jump through just to get the bud on the packaging so you as a consumer can rest assured that what it’s claiming is what you’re getting.

Organic Awareness Month Events

Throughout September the organic industry is going into hyper-drive, celebrating everything organic from meat to coffee, chips to wine! Australian Organic is challenging all of us to buy one extra organic product a week, to buy something certified organic to wear – to mix it up, to break out of our ‘easy’ habits and make a positive impact on our own health and our environment. Head to their Facebook page for more info on events, clients and products to kick-start your own Organic Awareness month.

Go Organic and WIN!

Choosing organic products is a win for everyone, but during September you can WIN some really amazing products and experiences. Head over to Australian Organic on Instagram (@australianorganic) to see which prizes are up for grabs. Each week of September, there’s a different prize on offer and this week it’s a gem! Australian Organic are giving away a fabbo Organic Gift pack with loads of amazing goodies. Check them out!

Which product will you switch over to organic this week? 

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The Sacred Grounds Fairtrade Story

Did you know it takes approx 186 coffee beans to make one cup of coffee? With every single bean being picked and processed by hand, it’s a lot of work. This is why we at Sacred Grounds have been supporting Fairtrade coffee for over a decade now

If you don’t know what Fairtrade does, in essence they ensure that these hard working farmers are being paid fairly for their time so that their businesses remain sustainable.

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Meet the Team: Dee Alam

Dee-1

I know you’ve been dying to meet the team behind those incredible Sacred Grounds beans! Well now you can. On our blog, right here, right now, we’re http://acheterdufrance.com/ starting a series called ‘Meet the Team’ where you can gain an all access pass behind the scenes of Sacred Grounds and get to know the stories of our amazing people. First up is our Key Account Manager and Head Trainer, Dee Alam.

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