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Home » Ethiopian Harrar Coffee Beans: Facts and Guide

Ethiopian Harrar Coffee Beans: Facts and Guide

Have you heard of Ethiopian Harrar coffee? With spicy, fruity, wine-like acidity, and mocha notes, it’s an Ethiopian heirloom coffee you can’t afford to miss out on.

Keep reading to learn more about what it is and how to bring out the best in these coffee beans.

Ethiopian Harrar coffee tasting notes

What Is Ethiopian Harrar Coffee?

Harrar coffee beans are an heirloom Arabica variety grown in the Oromia, formerly the Harrar region of southern Ethiopia (1). Harrar ranks among some of the best coffee in the world and belongs to a series of three trademarked Ethiopian coffee regions, along with Yirgacheffe and Sidamo. . One of the reasons for its success is farmers growing it at 1510 and 2120 meters above sea level.

Typical of many Ethiopian coffee beans, Harrar coffee is naturally-processed, meaning the coffee cherries are left out on raised beds in the sun to dry. To prevent mould or bruising, coffee farmers rake the bed of coffee beans to ensure they all dry evenly.

After six weeks, the farmers remove the outer layers of the coffee cherry—including the parchment surrounding the bean. At this point, the beans are ready for roasting.

Harrar Coffee Best Brew Methods and Cup Profile

Like Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans, Harrar coffee beans possess distinct wine-like acidity and floral notes. However, the similarities in the cup profile end there.

Harrar coffee beans are full-bodied, with bold, spice notes of cinnamon and cardamom.

They’re very aromatic and fruity in the cup, imparting heavy jam, apricot, wildberry, and even mocha notes.

According to the folks at Kabod Coffee (2):

A fine Harrar…coffee has a…surprisingly pleasant, slightly fermented aftertaste including intense notes of jasmine.

It’s best to use a filtration method, like pour-over, to bring out the best in these beans. Brewers like the V60 and Kalita Wave preserve this bean’s bright acidity while allowing the more heady, fruity, and spicy notes to shine.

Ultimately, feel free to experiment. Almost any brew method can work with the right roast level, water temperature, and time. Whether you prefer the theatrical, scientific drama of a coffee siphon or the portable simplicity of an Aeropress, this bean’s possibilities are endless.

Alternatively, if you want to keep the Ethiopian coffee ceremony alive in your home, watch this video to learn more about brewing the Harrar coffee bean the traditional way.

Final Thoughts

Ethiopian Harrar beans are a great choice if you’re looking to expand your palate beyond Central and South American coffees. With fruity, spicy notes, they’re a great coffee bean to use in your morning espresso or enjoyed black.


No. The short answer is that whichever coffee your palate prefers is better. To be more specific, Colombian coffee beans carry much of the traditional cup profile many people are familiar with. With a full body and nutty, citrus flavours, it’s a fantastic all-around choice if you’re new to coffee and wants to practice dialing in your time, temperature, and brew method.

However, if you prefer a brighter cup with tons of floral, tea, spicy, and jammy notes, you can’t go wrong with a high-quality Ethiopian coffee (3).

Harrar coffee beans are good for espresso because they are bold and full-bodied. However, be careful not to overwhelm this bean’s natural fruitiness and wine-like undertones by layering too many other flavours on top of it.

To bring out the best in this coffee bean as an espresso shot, we suggest you brew Harrar coffee beans as a ristretto and serve it a light layer of steamed milk or milk substitute.

The best roast for Harrar coffee is a personal choice. Usually, you’ll find that medium to medium-dark roast yields the most balanced cup. Because they’ve not been roasted as long, medium roasts will retain many characteristics of the original bean while imparting some complexity, thanks to the Maillard reaction.

  1. Ethiopia’s Coffee Growing Regions & Coffee Profiles. (2018, April 28). Kabod Coffee. https://kabodcoffee.com/blogs/news/ethiopias-coffee-growing-regions-coffee-profiles
  2. Ethiopia’s Coffee Growing Regions & Coffee Profiles. (2018, April 28). Kabod Coffee. https://kabodcoffee.com/blogs/news/ethiopias-coffee-growing-regions-coffee-profiles
  3. Coffee Bean Types, Origins, Roast Profiles, & Flavors. (2022, January 26). Joe’s Garage Coffee. https://joesgaragecoffee.com/blog/coffee-bean-types-and-flavors/
Iris M. Pang
One of my first childhood memories of coffee was in Montreal, Quebec. Every time my family and I walked through the mall, the aroma of fresh, brewed coffee and Belgian waffles permeated all the stores. Whatever that delicious smell was, I had to have it. And the rest is history. When I'm not writing or touring local coffee shops, you'll find me on social media, trying out different ethnic cuisine at local restaurants, and having deep discussions over coffee and pastries.

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