Ethiopia produces amazingly complex coffees and as a result there are different growing regions and varietals that produce unique and distinctive characteristics in the coffees they process - from the naturally rustic and winey Harrar, the interesting tropical fruits of a Lekempti, the plum and winey Djimmah, chocolate driven Limou, berry infused Sidamo, wild fruity Bench to the classic tones of a fine Yirgacheffe - all the coffees from these different Ethiopian regions and amazing examples of Africa's best.
Harar is one of the oldest and most revered sources of Ethiopian coffees. The varietals are known as heirloom and these are delicate coffees with rather low crop harvest yields compared to coffees farmed in other countries.
The tragedy of Harar is a story of declining volumes.
Extreme weather cycles from global climate change are having a detrimental effect upon the growing conditions for coffee in this region - extended periods of drought are reducing the nutrient levels for coffee trees, flowering, etc.
I remember 10 years ago it was far more common to have Harar coffees with beautifully dominant blueberry notes. These days, it's rare.
All of the Harar coffee is natural processed.
This means the appearance of the roasted coffee in uneven, as is the screen size and is entirely normal as part of the unique and distinctive allure of Harar coffees.
There is a wild fruit element in just about every Harar and as such Harar is probably not well suited to the lighter styles of filter coffee such as pour-over, aeropress, cold brew, etc. This funky element may brew less clean than other Ethiopians such as the washed Yirgacheffe, Sidamo and Limou.
Where the Harar comes into it's sweet spot is pure espresso and milk-based espresso.
This coffee is highly complex.
It has a unique flavour that changes often - varying from rich strawberries and cream, the odd blueberry and intense chocolate.
There is a lot going on in this cup and makes for an excellent espresso style preparation - with or without milk.