The general rule of thumb: High Altitude = High Quality.
Sidamo was a province in the southern part of Ethiopia. Its name has it’s from a native ethnic group of Ethiopia, called Sidama, which are located in the south-central part of the country. Their major political state was the ancient Kingdom of Sidama. The old political map says Sidama was bordered by Gama-Gofa on the west, Shewa on the north, Bale extending from north to east, a small portion on the southeast by Somalis, and on the south by Kenya.
The Ethiopian commodity Exchange has categorized the Sidamo zones into five geographical areas: Sidama A, B, C, D and E. These does not have any relation to quality but mere geographical indicators. Quality is based on sensory analysis and green grading, where Q1 and Q2 are named as specialty coffee, and everything between 3 and 9 are considered commercial grade.
Sidama has an estimated population of 3.5million, where the Cushitic language Sidamigna is the lingua franca. As all other ethnic groups in Ethiopia, they have their own unique culture, tradition, and heritage. Sidama celebrate their own New Year called ‘Fiche Chembelala’ which was given the status of UNESCO world heritage. They take huge pride in this.
The strength of Sidamo lies in the variety it offers which often results in a profound complexity of taste. The coffee farmers of Sidama grown their unique varieties on small land parcels and deliver their produce to processing sites. This results in a unique mixture of “mixed heirloom” that gives Sidamo coffee its distinct flavour.