Ethiopia - Hambela Dimtu

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Ethiopia - Hambela Dimtu

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The Guji Zone of Southern Ethiopia pushes up against the lush zones of Sidama and West Arsi to the north, to the Bale Zone in the east, and to the famous Gedeo Zone to the West. Given their proximity, the Guji and Gedeo Zones share many crossover characteristics in coffee processing and production, resulting in similarly bright, sparkly coffees with heavy floral notes and an overall delicacy.

As in the Gedeo Zone, coffees in Guji are grown under shade trees that include enset (false banana), wanza (an indigenous African tree that grows near water sources and is used for fuel, tools, and furniture, with its leaves being used to fertilize crops) bamboo, and avocado.

Rather than being grown on single-producer estates, coffee in the Guji Zone are purchased from nearby farmers who pick from their backyards, where coffee flourishes wild as a cash crop among others such as mangos and bananas. As such, farm size is small: generally .5 hectare up to 2 hectares, which results in a typical multi-generational family producing from one to three (60 kilo) bags of coffee. Unlike in many other coffee-growing countries, producers do not hire a mix of transient and year-round workers to pick cherries. Instead, coffee farmers pick their own crops, aided by family members. Washing stations often pay a premium to the producer for selling ripe cherries only.

Aklilu Biniam is a fourth-generation coffee professional in Ethiopia for whom coffee isn’t just an afterthought. His grandfather received a grant of 500 hectares in Guji decades ago, during the reign of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie. Eight wives and countless children resulted in that land being split, and split again down family lines, Aklilu’s father made history in Guji by founding the very first privately-owned washing station in the area, after years working as a cherry collections agent. This first washing station was established in 1995 (1987 by the Ethiopian calendar) and went by the name of Kassa Chirressa. Aklilu, then 28, went to work for his father, who still operates the mill.

Aklilu now owns a number of coffee washing stations, including Dimtu, where this beautiful coffee lot was processed. Dimtu has been open for one year, and sits on two hectares of land. An Agard four-disk pulper is maintained every day in the morning before it begins operation.

We cupped dozens and dozens of Ethiopian coffees to fill our portfolio this year, and Hambela Dimtu was the overall favorite of the group. With intensely sweet & floral aromatics, we often find ourselves hovering over the cup after brewing, just taking in all the amazing smells before our first sip. Notes of elderflower, thyme, bubblegum, and lemonade round out a delicious flavor profile we particularly enjoy brewed via Kalita wave.

  • REGION: Hambela District, Guji, Oromia

  • PRODUCER: Dimtu Washing Station, Aklilu Biniam

  • PROCESS: Washed

  • VARIETY: Heirloom

  • ELEVATION: 2100M

  • TASTING NOTES: Lemonade, bubblegum, thyme

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