Every year, specialty coffee roasters the world over look forward to fresh crop Ethiopian coffees landing on their shores. These are always some of the most fascinating and complex coffees we will roast, with the heirloom varietals of coffee's birthplace creating flavor and aroma experiences that are practically unparalleled the world over. And this fully washed coffee from the Guracho Washing Station in the heart of the Guji zone fully delivers what we have been eagerly awaiting.
Guji coffee has been receiving a lot of attention from the specialty coffee world in the past several years, and for good reason. Many privately owned washing stations have sprung up recently, in an area that has traditionally processed coffee using a natural (dry) method. The quality of these washed coffees can be outstanding, which isn’t surprising considering the area’s close proximity to Yirgacheffe. “Close” is relative speaking in terms of travel in Ethiopia, where 100 km can mean a 10 hour drive, but the variety of terrain and culture in that short distance is incredible.
Guji is an administrative zone of the Oromia region of Ethiopia, which gained political definition in 2002. Prior to that year, the Guji territory (named for the Guji tribe of the Oromo people) was a part of the Borena zone. Guji Zone shares a border with the Southern Nations, Nationalities & People’s Region (SNNP,) which includes Gedeo Zone (where Yirgacheffe is located) and Sidama Zone.
Despite being near to Yirgacheffe in location (as the crow flies,) the coffee world has recently seen a huge diversity of coffee profiles from Guji, ranging from the sweet lemon candy and floral tea you might expect from the area, to heavy green melon, peach and rose flavors. And the natural coffees from Guji can also be spectacular when cared for well, bringing syrupy fruit, marmalade, rosé wine and perfumed aromatics.
In the Cup
When we tasted this coffee, we knew we had to buy it. The first thing to stand out were the floral and lavender aromatics, followed by the lovely velvety body. Then came the flavors: peach, lemon, berry notes with a good deal of sweetness, but not intense like a natural processed coffee. This coffee is a grade one, so expect it to be pristinely clean. Would make a really nice espresso as well.