Roaster’s tasting notes:
From the first ever Ethiopian Cup of Excellence comes this extraordinary bean from a single estate, we are one of very few roasters to be lucky enough to have this.
A multi-layered flavour explosion hits with ripe fruits such as blueberry and raspberry, then moves to more complex notes of guava and passionfruit. The body is coating with a lingering confectionary-like sweetness.
This is going to be a rare opportunity to try an extraordinary coffee. Just as a one off we will be offering the bean in smaller sized packages, so as many people can try it as would like to.
This very special Natural lot placed 19th at the first-ever (2020) Ethiopian Cup of Excellence Competition.
Gemeda Elias Dube has been around coffee all of his life. Having grown up living on his father’s farm, at the age of 15, Gemeda first began helping tend the trees and learning the art of coffee production. Gifted a 7-hectare plot of land from his father at the age of 21, in just a decade, Gemeda has grown his inheritance to span an impressive 86 hectares. As well as managing his land, Gemeda helps to manage a collective of 103 farmers encompassing a further 490 hectares. As well as providing support to the farmers, Gemeda helps to provide improved seedling and technical support, ensuring quality of production. From his land and the 103 out-growers farms, Gemeda is producing and collecting an impressive 1,340,000kg of coffee annually; quite the increase compared to the production from his first 7 hectares he was gifted just some 10 years ago.
For this particular lot, the local Variety Kurume is used. A commonly known variety among farmers in the Guji and Gedeo Zones, including Yirgacheffe, the Kurume name is often applied to other JARC-selected varieties due to the similarities in the tree’s appearance. It is important to note that varieties in Ethiopia fall within two main groups —– regional or local landraces (of which there are at least 130) or JARC varieties. It is still very hard to tell but it is highly likely that this lot contains a great percentage of JARC 7410 and 74112 varieties, developed in 1974 by the JARC, which are directly descended from local landraces indigenous to the Gedeo Region. Most farmers have a mix of both the improved and the indigenous landrace varieties on their farms.
Gemeda processes both natural and washed coffee, which is auctioned through Ethiopian commodity exchange ECX. For the 2020 Ethiopian Cup of Excellence Competition, Gemeda submitted multiple coffees, managing to place two natural coffees in 19th and 24th, with scores of 87.79 and 87.43. ‘‘This kind of competition is what quality producers like us can benefit from,’’ Gemeda said.
Guji is part of the Oromia region in southern Ethiopia, next door to Gedeo Zone (SNNPR) where the famous Yirgacheffe micro-region is located. This steep, green area is both fertile and high, with much of the coffee growing at 2,000m and above. Coffee grown in the Guji zone was once classified under Sidamo (a larger zone next door in the SNNPR region.) Recently, Guji has become its own recognised area in coffee, thanks to the newly opened ECX coffee delivery centre, as well as the separating classification given to Guji beans; thanks to their unique cup profile and physical attributes.
Around 85 per cent of Ethiopians still live rurally and make a living from agriculture; each family usually lives in a modest home (often a single round mud hut) and farms their own plot of land, where they grow both cash crops and food for their own consumption. In Guji, coffee is one of the main cash crops —– covering from half a hectare to 1.5 hectares (the latter is considered big). This is usually planted alongside a second cash crop —– often a large-leafed tree used in making roofs for (and also shade provider for the coffee) known as ‘false banana’. This looks like a banana tree but isn’t – instead its thick stem is used to produce both a nutritious flour and a fermented paste that staple ingredients (particularly across southern Ethiopia).
There is only one main harvest a year in Ethiopia – this usually takes place in November and December across all of the country’s growing regions. There are, on average, 4 passes made during the harvest period, and, in regions that produce both washed and naturals, the last pass is used for the natural coffee. Washed coffees are then generally pulped on the same day that they are picked (usually in the evening/night), sorted into three grades by weight (heavy, medium and floaters), fermented (times vary – usually between 16 and 48 hours), washed and then usually graded again in the washing channels. The beans are then dried on raised beds, where they are hand-sorted, usually by women.