Ethiopia – Biftu Gudina
It’s widely believed that coffee originates from Ethiopia and today there are over 1000 indigenous varieties growing wild in the mountain forests there. These varieties are responsible for some of the most coveted cup profiles in the world and while coffee in Ethiopia is still generally organised by key producing regions such as Harar Sidamo and Yirgacheffe, the first steps to separating the varieties into individual lots are underway.
We’ve been fortunate to secure a lot from a small co-operative of just 150 small holders located in the Agaro – Goma woreda (district) within the Jimma zone of western Ethiopia. Derived from Amharic language, Biftu Gudina means “ray of development.” The cooperative was established in 2012, and benefits from high altitude, rich fertile soils and lush green surroundings.
The coffee at Biftu Gudina is processed using the washed method. At the washing station, cherries are sorted by hand for unripe and over-ripe fruit prior to entering the hopper that feeds the Penagos eco-pulper. Afterwards the beans are soaked in clean water in concrete tanks for 8 hours. Waste water treatment relies on a natural form of filtration through a vetiver grass plot before it goes into the pits and finally the ground. The beans are then sun dried for 10 to 14 days on raised African drying beds and carefully hand sorted again.
Biftu Gudina has a strong leadership and chairman who together with Technoserve (an NGO that supports farmers in setting up washing stations and new cooperative structures) established the cooperative. Initial funding came from Falcon Coffees. Since Biftu Gudina
was established it has become famous in speciality coffee circles thanks to its incredibly complex and luscious flavour and consequently it now commands prices that farmers could only have dreamt of in the past. An interesting feature of this coffee is its varietal. This coffee is mainly an improved native varietal called 1274, with a mix of Ethiopia’s indigenous Heirloom beans.