Heirloom Varietal Ethiopia Guji Wolichu Sodu
In our continuous effort to bridge the gap between the roaster and the specialty coffee industry, we are taking a closer look at our green coffee selection with a focus on farms, producers, varietals, and processing methods.
A fresh crop of washed coffee from Ethiopia just landed in our roastery. We are always excited around this time of year to taste the new offerings from one of our favorite origins. A classic washed Ethiopia coffee will be floral, fruity and have well-balanced acidity.
Ethiopia Guji, Wolichu Sodu
This delicious coffee from Ethiopia comes from the Guji region, previously considered a part of Yirgacheffe. Since 2002 it was not recognized by its own name but rather it was lumped with the Sidamo and Yirgacheffe regions.
After gaining a reputation for producing unique coffees with complex, floral, and sweet profiles, Guji is now recognized as its own microregion. It is a remote and lush in forested area over rolling hills and valleys with soil rich in nutrients. The Guji region includes farms of varying altitudes and forestation. This means coffees coming out of this one region have the potential to produce a variety of flavor profiles.
Wolichu Sodu is one of the washing stations that processes coffees grown in this region, and it’s where our current offering comes from.
In Ethiopia the term heirloom, used to categorize coffees, is in reference to varietals that have been untouched by agriculturalists. These coffees are native to the country, found in the wild, and are not genetically modified in any way.
Most heirloom varietals are grown on small garden farms by members of a specific co-operative though they start the beginning of their life in the wild. Because they are harvested from the forest, identifying and separating varietals grown in close proximity to each other is difficult. Their journey from the wild to specialty coffee farms begins with identification of each varietal and gaining an understanding of their genetic profile from farm to farm.
While this process is time-consuming, it’s extremely important for producers to gain knowledge and record data on the many coffees from Ethiopia considered to be heirloom varietals.
It has not always been easy gaining knowledge about coffee purchased from Ethiopia.
Introduced in 2008, The Ethiopian Commodities Exchange, a private collective of parties and the Ethiopian government, primarily administered all information on coffees coming out of Ethiopia. This limited access to any information from farmers and cooperatives.
Although coffees from ECX were graded for sensory notes and quality, that information was not always available to potential bidders. Elevation, variety, and farmer names were not provided, obfuscating the supply chain and providing no guarantee of traceability to particular micro-regions or washing stations.
Over the past several years, efforts have been made to provide increased traceability of coffees from Ethiopia, and there’s been great improvement in our own understanding of where and how they are grown.
Versatile and Stable
Utilizing this coffee is not a challenge. We’ve enjoyed Guji on manual drip brew methods as a single origin, on batch brew as part of a blend, and even on espresso. Its stability in the warehouse has remained consistent and allows us to keep a larger quantity in the roastery if desired.
Here’s our favorite recipe for highlighting the attributes of this coffee.
Recipe for Ethiopia Guji on the Kalita Brewer
This recipe comes from Onyx Coffee Lab. It’s used in their retail cafes as the standard pour over recipe on bar. In this brew, we experience flavor notes of key lime pie, hibiscus, and peach.
- Assemble your Kalita with a filter sitting in the device. Set on a vessel or mug.
- Begin by rinsing your filter and dumping your rinse water.
- Dose and shake for a flat even bed.
- Start your timer. Pour with a very light flow, touching all of the coffee until you reach 50g. Allow it to bloom for 45 seconds.
- At 0:45, pour with a heavier flow making 6 circles starting from the middle until you reach the edge. This pour should total to around 170g.
- At 1:00, pour with a medium flow 3 circles from the middle spiraling out to the edge until you reach 220g total.
- At 1:20, another 3 circle pour until you reach 280g total.
- At 1:45, another 3 circle pour until you reach 340g total.
- At 2:05, another 3 circle pour until you reach 400g total.
- Allow your coffee to drain. Aim for a total brew time of 3:45.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this coffee and brew recipe!