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Equatorial Kebab

On the map, the Equator skewers Kenya like a tasty bit of shish kebab. This maximal solar exposure is modulated by monsoons and Indian Ocean tradewinds. The Great Rift Valley, which runs from Syria to South Africa dominates Kenya’s inland relief, giving its coffee trees the cooling and slow growth benefits of high altitude, free of frost. Read more

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This month we revisit our old friend, Ethiopia Yirgacheff. Ethiopian of course is the Alpha coffee, the evolutionary womb of the botanic species, and thus, the place where the adventure begins.

Coffee occupies a central place in the economic and social life of Ethiopians. It accounts for 60% of their national export earnings. Yet only a third of Ethiopia’s harvest is exported. One reason for this is that Ethiopians are among the highest consumers per capita of coffee in the world. Read more

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A Rediscovered Name

In May of this year rebels ousted Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko, after nearly 32 years of increasingly corupt and despotic rule. Mobutu, who died in September in exile, is said to have amassed a personal fortune of up to $8 billion. In 1971 he changed the name of his country to Zaire, as part of a program of cultural nationalism. One of the rebels’ first acts was to ditch the name Zaire, and restore the name Mobutu had discarded: Democratic Republic of the Congo. Read more