ETHIOPIA GUJI KERCHA
Our October coffee of the month was very popular in the cupping room! This Ethiopia coffee from the Guji region is complex with a light body and excellent acidity. The cup starts out with the acidic notes of orange marmalade. That acidity then blends into the creaminess in the middle of the cup and the combination is reminiscent of an orange creamsicle. The finish is nutty with notes of raw pecan or cashew.
Roast Color: Light
Cupping Notes: Orange Marmalade, Cream, Nutty
Story: Guji is heavy with primary forest thanks to the Guji tribe, a part of Ethiopia’s vast and diverse Oromo nation, who have for generations organized to reduce mining and logging outfits where they can, in a struggle to conserve the land’s sacred canopy. Compared to other coffee-heavy regions, large parts of Guji feel like prehistoric backwoods. Oumer Abdu’s processing station, called Kercha, is in Deribadiya town. Deribadiya is in western Guji-in the greater district of Hambela Wamena. Coffee farms in this part of Guji begin at extremely high elevations for arabica, and tend to climb upward from there. To exit Hambela Wamena district to the west, as nearly all the coffee must do to begin the trek north to Addis Ababa, one regularly reaches heights of 2400 meters or higher, and yet the scenery remains as fertile and bustling as anywhere.
The gorgeous arabica genetics of this area, blessed by some of the country’s healthiest biodiversity, could be easily ruined in transit, or commodified and blended into lower grades as a result of the difficult geography. One way for farmers to survive these disadvantages was by having larger, more diversified parcels, sometimes 20 acres or more, with equal emphasis on livestock or other crops for local markets as on coffee. Were it not for private washing stations like Kercha, local growers would have as their only option the sporadic, rogue coffee collector from Gedeo or farther, bringing challengingly low prices and a take-it-or-leave-it attitude. The Kercha processing station in Deribadiya is most definitely an exception to the status quo for small farmers in Guji and is an important island of commerce in the remote Hambela Wamena district.