Ethiopia Kercha Guracho
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With Ethiopia Guji Kercha Guracho, we have an incredibly rare indigenous heirloom coffee from the remote Guji region of Ethiopia. Wet-milled and clean, this is a stunning coffee that I'm so excited to be able to share with you.
In the nose, I smell the sweet aroma of caramel, freshly baked cookies, and slightly floral notes.
In the cup, this is more full-bodied than some Ethiopian coffees. The taste is thick and juicy with a pleant suggestion of Fuji or pink lady apple.
The finish lingers with a return to baked goods, milk chocolate, and caramel apple pie.
Ethiopia Guji Kercha Guracho is not your standard Ethiopian coffee and deserves to be savored.
Coffee processing is an essential island of commerce in the remote Kercha district, subsidizing local sewage systems and the area schools. Coffee mills provide interest-free loans to farmers to help families through the traditionally cash-strapped picking and pruning months. Coffee milling supports not just a cash center for farmers, but an essential local ecosystem, that is operated by, and for the local people.
Aroma: Sweet, Caramel, Fresh Baked Cookies, Slightly Floral
Cup: Thick Mouth Feel, Juicy, Pleasant, Sweet Apple
Finish: Lingering, Milk Chocolate, Caramel Apple Pie
About this Coffee
GROWER: Keder Hassen Aredo (owner) processing station
REGION: Guracho village, Kercha district, Guji Zone, Oromia Region, Ethiopia
ALTITUDE: 1950 – 2150 masl
PROCESS: Wet-milled and naturally processed
VARIETY: Indigenous heirloom
HARVEST: December - January
Sibu Coffee Exporter PLC’s processing site is in Guracho village, in the district of Kercha, on the western side of Guji, very close to Gedeb in the southern Gedeo zone. The station is operated by Keder Hassen Aredo, born in Kercha Town. Keder is 45 with nine children and inherited much of his processing knowledge from his father. At 20 years old, Keder began working for himself and has been buying and processing coffee ever since.
The site is massive by the standards of any region in Ethiopia, let alone Guji: up to 500 seasonal workers staff, 14 fermentation tanks, 600 drying tables, and the operation during harvest. There is guest lodging for visitors to the remote location, which is typical considering the site is one of the largest in southern Ethiopia. In addition to the 2500 smallholders who deliver fruit to the station, Keder Hassen Aredo’s business owns and operates a sizeable nearby estate, whose entire crop is processed here.
There are few entrances to Guji--a remote and heavily forested swath stretching southeast through the lower corner of the massive Oromia region--and none of these routes are short or for the queasy in any way. 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.
The majority of the zone can be a full day’s drive (and many days’ walk) from the nearest trading centers of Gedeb or Dilla to the west, which leaves many coffee farmers debilitated by lack of access to market, and cherry prices often less than half of neighboring Gedeo or Sidama zones. The gorgeous arabica genetics of this area, blessed by some of the country’s healthiest biodiversity, are often ruined in transit or commodified and blended into lower grades due to the challenging geography, and one way or another, rarely gets a fair showing in the market.
Famers have historically survived the access disadvantages by having more extensive, diversified parcels, often 20 acres or more, with equal emphasis on livestock or other crops for local markets such as coffee. But the vast majority have always been small—2-4 acres only. Were it not for groups like Sibu, who have been investing in the area (and individuals like Keder) for over 20 years, growers in nearby Kercha would have as their only option the sporadic, rogue coffee collector from Gedeo or farther, bringing rock bottom prices and a take-it-or-leave-it attitude.
The processing station in Guracho is an exception to the status quo for small farmers in Guji. The operation is not only an essential island of commerce in the remote Kercha district, but it also subsidizes local sewage systems in the area schools, as well as provides interest-free loans to the farmers from which it buys cherry to help farms through the traditionally cash-strapped picking and pruning months. So, it supports not just a cash center for farmers but an important local ecosystem by and for the local people.