Heading for south-west Ethiopia

After getting seriously stuck in the mud twice, we headed up the valley again, retracing our tracks because the road was washed away. We soon reached two flattish but very muddy sections, the first of which we traversed with no trouble. The second was however about 40 metres long, slightly uphill, with deep, muddy pools filling old vehicle tracks. Continue reading Heading for south-west Ethiopia

In search of the origin of coffee on the Western Highlands

Legend has it that a young herdsman from Ethiopia first observed the properties of wild coffee when his goats became hyperactive after eating the leaves and berries. He ate some himself and finding that he too became abnormally excited, ran to the nearby monastery to share his discovery.

To his dismay the monks chastised him for his evil stimulants and threw the berries into a fire, only to be encouraged to try them because of their aroma. Finding that they were unusually alert during nightly prayers, it became practise throughout Christian Ethiopia to chew coffee beans before lengthy prayer sessions. Later it was discovered that the roasted berries could be pounded to a powder to produce what we know as coffee. Continue reading In search of the origin of coffee on the Western Highlands