The family of Ture Waji owns land in the eastern part of Guji around the town of Shakiso that is rich in natural resources and metals. They could choose to mine all this land for what is below the soil, but the family is dedicated to the sustainability and fertility of the soils of these high lands. To offset what they have mined and preserve the fertility of Guji’s soils, the family operates Guji Highlands PLC and Mormora Estate, both heavy hitters when it comes to quality coffee from the eastern part of Guji. These coffee operations not only promote coffee quality, but they offer competitive pay for farmers and station workers, are organized to organic standards, and focus energy on the reforestation of Guji with native trees.
In January, I was able to visit the Mormora Estate, Guji Highlands Allona collection station, and the Guji Highlands farm. All three were incredible operations that spoke to the Waji family’s sense of community and sustainability. All of their sites featured staff that was eager to visit with guests, share in a meal, and work together on tasks regardless of gender. It was rare to find this sense of community and shared effort on my trip in Ethiopia, and it attracted me to these coffees before I even had a chance to taste them. At the Allona station, the Waji family buys coffee cherry from around 80 surrounding small farms. There, I witnessed both organization and care for washed coffees I did not see elsewhere in Ethiopia. The station workers delicately washed the coffee and allowed it to dry for a day under shade before exposing it to direct sun. The result was beautiful parchment without any cracking. This extra step causes the coffee to take 3-4 days longer to dry fully, but the result is a much more consistent product.
Back in the capital of Addis Ababa, I was able to taste the washed coffees and found beautiful notes of citrus, stone fruit, jasmine, tea, and honey. To further preserve quality, our importing partners at CCS had Heleanna Georgalis and her dedicated team at the Moplaco dry mill in Addis sort and clean this coffee before loading it on a container to the USA. At long last, the coffee has arrived and tastes amazing. We hope to continue sourcing coffee from Guji Highlands for years to come.
Team taste notes: grapefruit, stone fruit, honey, sweet tea
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