The Coffee Road: Part Deux

  Nine months after embarking on the original journey to the Mother Coffee tree [as chronicled in this week’s cover story], I had the opportunity to hike to the oldest Coffea arabica tree in the world once again. This time I would do make the approach coming in the opposite direction: a two-day journey coursing through a rocky river valley, relying only on a hastily printed map, my fuzzy memory, and a handful of helpful locals. Again I would wonder: Why all this hardship to make it to a tree? Continue reading 

The Road to Mother Coffee

In Ethiopia, coffee trails open up Kafa Biosphere Reserve to tourists

Minutes after walking away from the oldest coffee tree in the world, Silje Heyland, a German college student studying fair-trade coffee practices in Ethiopia, had a sudden urge to go back. “Perhaps we can eat lunch under the tree,” she suggested. The rest of our expedition party — wet, tired, muddy, hungry — looked at her with unsympathetic eyes and decided it would be better to eat lunch at a nearby village, where there were primitive huts to duck into for shelter against the afternoon thunderstorm. Continue reading