Today we have the pleasure of introducing you to a Strictly Coffee insiders secret, hiding within our diverse range of quality roasts.
The Ethiopia Guji is one our absolute favourites, being a company that prides itself on sustainability and minimising our overall impact. The beans for this roast are sourced using New Zealand's leading importer of Ethiopian coffees, Trade Aid, with our choice being the Guji 2 from the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union. We take great satisfaction in producing a roast with fully traceable origins and in doing so, are supporting a wonderful organisation. The OCFCU has several aims, the main goal being to ultimately improve the livelihoods of farmers and develop the local market to a better place.
It goes without saying that Ethiopia is a truly wonderful coffee mecca, being the birthplace of the Coffee Arabica plant and a location where coffee has been cultivated longer than anywhere else. It is home to some of the most exquisite, complex and delightful coffees, and is a keen interest of coffee enthusiasts globally. Due to the climate and acidic soil in this particular region of Southern Ethiopia, almost all of the coffees trees grown here produce beans with remarkable fruity flavours. The region is well-regarded as producing some of the highest quality Ethiopian coffee beans.
Guji is a very specific area located in the Oromia coffee growing region of Southern Ethiopia. Our beans being produced by the Guji Oromo, a sub-tribe of the Oromo ethnic group. Although Guji is commonly categorised as a sub-region of Sidamo, coffee professionals throughout the world are realising that Guji beans are significantly distinct to those of neighbours. What is interesting is that despite being in extremely close proximity to one another within the Sidamo province and having many life aspects in common, the Sidama, Gedeo and the Oromo tribes deliver major differences in the coffee they produce.
Guji beans have gained reputation and stature because of their unique and differentiating flavour profiles, and producers strive to have their goods sold separately in order to distinguish this fine taste and body from fellow counterparts.
In this particular area of Ethiopia, the main rains finish a few weeks before the coffee is ripe so when the first fruit ripens it is still full and juicy, making it easy to pulp and wash. Our Grade 2 Guji beans come in this first flush of the harvest, at the start of the season before the fruit becomes drier with thinner pulp. The second half of the crop produces a different variety of coffee that is drier and sweeter in comparison, due to these seasonal changes.
Coffee is washed at a central washing station, meaning that the fruit is taken away from the beans as soon as it is picked. The skin and flesh are removed mechanically from the coffee bean and the remaining pieces of pulp are extracted during a 12 hour fermentation in concrete tanks. After fermentation, the beans are washed again for a further 12 hours in clean water. The washed beans are dried in the sun or shade for 11 - 20 days on raised drying beds. When they reach the desired level of dryness, they are removed and stored until ready to be shipped.
Using this process allows the delicate qualities of the acidity and sweetness to shine through, giving the coffee an excellent flavour clarity and ultimately creates a satisfying, refreshing cup.
We work our magic on these fantastic beans by developing a light to medium roast, highlighting beautiful berry fruit and bergamot flavours alongside a gorgeous vanilla sweetness. Being a less aromatic roast means that it creates a very good single origin cup; it tastes particularly exquisite when brewed using the likes of a Chemex method, as well as in a light espresso or long black. Ultimately, the Ethiopian Guji bean creates a sweet and juicy coffee with well-rounded acidity and a good creamy body.
We hope that your eyes have been opened and perhaps your curiosity tweaked to the wonders of Ethiopian coffee. Here at Strictly, we strongly encourage coffee purchasing and consumption to be more of a conscious decision to allow for long-term sustainability and wellbeing in both physical and cultural environments. We really like that we can play a small role in helping the OCFCU make change for the better at the very heart of coffee production. By putting words into actions, we are actively exploring and trying ways where we can make our impact on the industry a positive one.
Find our Ethiopian Guji beans here, to try them for yourself and see what the fuss is about!