The Guji zone is part of the very large Oromiya (Oromia) Woreda in southern Ethiopia. The people are known as Gujii Oromo, and coffee farming has been a core part of the culture in the highland areas. It's a distinct coffee from Yirga Cheffe, and while we have called Guji a Sidamo, it is not that either. This coffee is from the Welena producer group. Geographically, culturally and in terms of cup flavors, Guji coffees can be quite distinct. While dry-process Guji lots, which are more widely available, tend to have a generic fruityflavor found also in dry-process Sidamos (or dry-process coffees from nearly anywhere in Ethiopia), it is the transparency of the wet-process that reveals the distinctiveness of these regional lots. Add to this that cultivars used in Ethiopia are highly regionalized, distinct local strains of coffees as they spread from the wild forest plants of western Ethiopia, to Harar in the East and the southern districts like Guji. We found this lot in early harvest cupping and arranged for its importation. Ethiopia exports this year are incredibly slow, way behind schedule. (Even the use of the term 'schedule' seems bitterly ironic when talking about waiting for Ethiopia arrivals!) So I was nervous about how this direct lot would arrive. With luck and the added protection of Grainpro liners inside the jute bags, it came in great!This coffee is part of our Farm Gate pricing program.
This is a very unique, very distinct flavor profile. I would go so far to say this is something I have experienced only a few times in my coffee experience, an Ethiopia flavor profile with such sweet spice notes, paired with tea, flowers and fruit. I kept my roasts to a fairly tight range of City to City+, since going dark on this coffee seems to obscure it's prime attributes too much. From the dry grounds, jasmine-violet floral scents are clear, as well as ginger, and dark honey. My lightest roasts have a graham cracker wet aroma (nice, but perhaps a bit too light on the roast there). City+ level has even more violet blossoms, more honey sweetness, maple syrup on pancakes, and sweet spice notes of ginger, cinnamon and cardamom. Those spice notes are so clear in the cup; fresh ginger, cardamom pods, cinnamon. Along with a lemony acidity, they are the accent notes. The first time I cupped the arrival sample, my taste impression coalesced under one term; "Gingerbread." It perfectly described the spicy sweetness, underpinned by honey and caramelized sugar. While the cup has a distinct sweetness, it is restrained, not a full, round sweetness. In fact it seems moderated by slightly bracing, tannic Earl Grey-like notes, and in the cool cup very clear bergamot and clementine flavors appear with a sugary finish. The body is fairly light, with a waxy mouthfeel and a suggestion of walnut oil. It's a very aromatic, delicate and distinct cup. It's not a powerful or aggressive coffee. Over-roast it, or, heaven forbid, add cream to it, and you can kiss that unique character goodbye.
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