Coffee from Harrar, Ethiopia

Discover why the Harar region of Ethiopia is famous for its gourmet Arabica coffee beans, its history and its culture. 

Harrar is in the Eastern Highlands of Ethiopia and where our natural processed heirloom coffee beans of unsurpassed world-class quality are sourced. The Harrar coffee offered by Tiru Coffee is rich and edgy with the flavors of spice, blueberry jam, chocolate, and finishing notes of Jasmine.

The Harrar region of Ethiopia is home to some of the most sought-after gourmet Arabica coffee in the world, including one of the oldest beans produced today. At Tiru Coffee, we source natural process heirloom coffee beans from Harar because of their distinctive flavor and unsurpassed world-class quality. 

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What Makes Harrar Coffee Unique?

Drying beans in the African sun results in a rich coffee edged with the flavors of spice, blueberry jam, chocolate and finishing notes of jasmine – a unique flavor referred to as mocha. Often, Ethiopian Harars are used in espresso blends because they capture the aromatics of the crema. Discover our Ethiopian Harrar coffee for yourself or read why we selected it for Tiru Coffee. Learn more about our other regions including Yirgacheffe.

Coffee Processing 

Harar beans are considered “wild” because they’re natural or dry process coffees that are left to dry in the sun with the entire fruit and bean intact. As it dries, the cherry infuses the bean inside with distinctive lush fruit tastes. Nearly all of the sorting and processing is done by hand.

Names for Harrar, Harar, & Harari

Officially named Harar Jugol, it’s also known by more informal monikers, such as City of Saints, City of Peace, living museum and African Mecca. These nicknames honor the rich history and cultural heritage of the city. Harar is the capital of the Harari Region, and the administrative capital of the Harari People National Regional State (HPNRS). When describing coffee from the region, it is spelled "Harrar."

Harari Culture

It is believed that Harar was founded sometime around the 10th century by Arabian immigrants. Thanks to the city’s location in eastern Ethiopia, Harar became a hub for trade from the Middle East, India and Africa. Islamic culture has featured prominently in the city’s history over the years. In fact, Harar Jugol is considered the fourth holy city of Islam. Harar’s Islamic and African influences are especially obvious in the city’s architecture, which features townhouses with unique interior designs. To this date, the city is home to 82 mosques, some dating back to the 10th century, and 102 shrines.Today, the people of Harar are known for their weaving, book binding, basket making and other handicrafts. As for the city itself, visitors are awed by the hundreds of alleyways and vibrant markets inside the wall. However, outside the wall lies a modern city.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

In 2006, Harar Jugol, Ethiopia, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognizes natural and/or cultural sites that are considered to have “Outstanding Universal Value”. These are locations or buildings that the World Heritage Committee has deemed to be important for future generations and across national boundaries. Harar was chosen as a unique, significant or best example of the world’s heritage. This designation is an immense honor and includes both reporting requirements and property protections.

Coffee Ceremony

As with all of Ethiopia, coffee is central to the culture of the people of Harar. Of particular importance is having coffee with other people. At least once a day, women host a coffee ceremony, which is a traditional way of preparing, serving and drinking coffee together. This important process is a treasured time for welcoming guests and sharing stories, sorrows and laughter with family and friends.

Hyena Feeding

One longstanding tradition is the feeding of hyenas at dusk. Each evening along the outskirts of the city, “hyena men” put out a call that is answered by small packs of three or four hyenas who come forward to receive their dinner and even play with their feeders. These deadly predators have been living in alongside the people of Harar for centuries. Locals refer to them as “young priests”, and a porridge feast in their honor is held at the beginning of each new Arabic calendar year. The hyenas’ acceptance of the offer is considered good fortune, while refusal is a bad omen.

Location

The walled city of Harar commands a plateau in the eastern highlands of Ethiopia, surrounded by deep gorges, savannah and deserts. The wall was built sometime between the 13th and 15th centuries to keep out Ethiopian Christian forces, Oromo migrants and foreigners. The area inside the 16-foot high walls is known and the Jugal, and today visitors are welcome to explore it. Access to this central district is through 6 gates spaced around the 2 miles of wall.

Climate

Sitting at an elevation of about 6,180 feet above sea level, Harar enjoys moderate temperatures year-round. Typically, the mornings are cool and the afternoons can get relatively warm, but the average temperatures usually range between lows in the 50s and highs in the 70s. The total average rainfall for the region is only about 28 inches per year, with most of it falling around August. November through February are typically dry months, with the rainy season lasting from March through October. These mild temperatures and moderate rainfall provide idea growing conditions for coffee plants.