The arrival of east African coffees is, for coffee folk, a harbinger of spring. Fall harvests lead to vibrant winter arrivals from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and of course, Ethiopia. These coffees act as a little glimmer of sunshine among the murk and muck of wintertime.
Ethiopian coffees, in particular, always make us smile. Each region within the country has distinctive characteristics, but all are unified by their cleanliness, clarity, and colorful (but not overly aggressive) acidity. Many coffee bushes in the nation are heirloom species (rather than the heavily cultivated strains we often see see in other parts of Africa and in South and Central America), so there's a uniqueness to these ancient plants that we just might not see in regions that are newer to the coffee game. In addition to having a strong coffee drinking culture, Ethiopia has got the farming and processing thing down pat, which means you can count on high-quality crops with a lot of character pretty much across the board.
At present, a slew of Phoenix-area roasters are offering coffees from Ethiopia. Here's an introduction to three regionally-distinct offerings.