What is it about Guji?
It is a zone and an administrative area. Yes.
Do they produce amazing coffees? Yes!
Is there a lot of future potential? Yes!
Does it represent a specific flavour profile? No! At least not in our opinion.
If you’re looking for a specific cup character that you associate with Yirgacheffe or Sidamo, you could just as easily find it in Guji. Or maybe you discover something totally unexpected and unusual.
A new vocabulary for Ethiopian coffees
We have stopped expecting specific profiles based on the zones/regions in the south and we no longer communicate about these coffees this way. To me, every zone has a huge variety of flavour attributes. You can find similarities across coffees from Guji, Sidamo and Yirgacheffe, as much as you can find a huge variation within one zone, depending on micro climate and local varieties. The difference is Guji has greater variation in terrain, including some extremely high altitude areas and other unique places where they grow coffee, There are also new areas where they are just beginning to farm coffee.
What has changed in Guji?
When I started in coffee sixteen years ago there was some mystery related to Guji. People talked about the area as something wild and excotic, but the coffees didn’t impress me. Most of what was presented in our market was, to me, kind of rough and nutty. The fruit was there, but the prep was pretty bad. Of course there was great coffees around. I especially remember some nice ones from Shakiso, and my first purchase from Guji was from that area, but generally I found it much easier to access great coffees from the neighboring zones like Sidama and Yirgacheffe (Gedeo).
But this has changed the last few years. Of course, all three regions have amazing coffee, but Guji covers a huge area and they are producing more specialty coffees than ever before.
I believe there are many reasons for this.
- The altitudes, environment, soil and climate conditions are great.
- There are many more washing stations than previously, and many of them are focusing on quality and traceability.
- Our suppliers are offering farmer support for smallholders, helping them to increase yield and quality in the fields.
- There are areas where they are changing from other crops to coffee, and the plants in these new areas are young.
The many Guji profiles
The last few years many of our favourite coffees have come from Guji, and we see profiles of all kinds. The washed coffees can be everything from bright citrusy and tea-like, to wild, jammy with a lot of depth and layers of fruit. And it’s not uncommon to find funky coffees reminiscent of a well-processed honey. The naturals produced in the higher altitudes stand out with so much brightness and structure combined with complex fruit and candy-like flavours. In other words, lose any preconceived notions, cup with an open mind, and check out Gujis.
Washed and natural coffees are still being shipped. Contact our sourcing team to discuss your Guji needs.