That coffee is native to Ethiopia is indisputable, and this becomes clear when one walks into the famous forest coffee plantations. Growing happily amongst the native forest are the healthiest and happiest coffee trees you’ll see anywhere in the world. Organic production is widespread in Ethiopia, where in many countries this is completely unviable. Some suggest it is the diversity afforded by the forest-growing environment that slows the spread of disease, but it is safe to say there are many contributing factors to the uniqueness of Ethiopian coffee, from the growing systems to the diversity of varieties. Whatever the reasons, we are happy they exist and proud to be long-standing supporters of the many great farmers in this beautiful landscape.
Guji Highland is a 250 hectare, family owned farm established in 2012 by Wodessa Yachisi. It is situated in Oromia, near the town of Shakisso in the Guji Zone – roughly 530km south of Addis. Guji Highland tops out at 2300m, and is nestled in what can only be described as a natural cloud forest. This remote and peaceful 250ha is one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever seen coffee grown. The farm was planted in stages and is between 3 and 4 years old, with new seedlings cultivated each year using seeds collected from indigenous mother trees. The farm’s production is 100% organic and the moment you step onto the land you sink into the deep topsoil, rich with organic matter which has naturally decomposed over decades. Only natural coffees are produced on the farm currently, but they have plans to build a fully operational washing station and an eco-lodge for coffee tourists.
In addition to the Guji Highlands farmland, coffees are also sourced from smallholders or “out growers” in the local vicinity, making up an additional 400 hectares of prime coffee land. Each of the smallholders who work with Guji Highland are managed and given expert advice, starting from seed selection from wild coffee tree to production and processing.