Region: Sidamo Guji, Southern Oromia
Owner: Yodesa Yachisi
Altitude: 1,900 – 2,000 metres above sea level
Variety: Mixed heirloom varieties
Strawberries and cream. Candied banana. Butterscotch like sweetness.
ABOUT MORMORA (with thanks to Melbourne Coffee Merchants)
Mormora Coffee Plantation is located in the Shakisso ‘woreda’ (administrative district) in the south of the Guji zone of Ethiopia’s Southern Oromia State.
Mormora is owned and managed by Haider Abamecha and his family. The farm located just outside the town of Shakisso and sits at an elevation of 1,800–2,100m above sea level. Coffee has been growing wild in this area for centuries. Ethiopia is widely celebrated as the birthplace of coffee, and is the only country in the world where coffee is indigenous.
Coffee is grown organically on the farm in beautiful, wild forest conditions where the loamy soil is fertile. The trees benefit from a mixture of natural shade plants, which—as well as protection from the sun—provide a rich source of leaves and debris which decompose on the forest floor.
Mormora farm is also organic certified (though this particular lot is not), and the land is managed in sections, with the trees undergoing 25 year cycles before being stumped to rejuvenate. New trees from their seedling nursery are planted every year. The seeds originate from local heirloom varieties that were collected nearby (that they refer to as the “mother tree”). The family works with local small-holders as well, buying their coffee, and also helping by offering training at the farm level as well as at their mill.
ABOUT THE GUJI REGION
The Guji zone was established as a unique production area in 2002. It is located in the Southern portion of Sidamo, and is named after the Oromo people; a tribe with a long, proud history in coffee production.
Coffees from Guji were previously classified as ‘Sidamo’ (a very wide geographical classification encompassing much of central-south Ethopia), however more recently they have been separated from this classification and recognised for their unique and distinctive cup profiles. This distinctiveness is driven by the unique combination of elements in this production area, including high altitudes, rich, fertile soil, and exceptional heirloom varieties.
Guji is bordered on the south and west by Borena, on the north by Gedeo and Sidama, and on the east by Bale and the Somali Region. Coffees that are classified as ‘Gujis’, originate from the ‘woreda’ (administrative regions) of Adoola Redi, Uraga, Kercha, Bule Hora, and Shakisso (where this coffee is from).
Most communities in the region still live rurally and make a living from farming. Coffee remains the main cash crop for most families in the Guji region, who grow coffee alongside food for consumption, and other cash crops such as the Ethiopian banana.
This coffee is a mix of local varieties, including native coffees from forest origin that are collectively known as ‘Ethiopian Heirloom’. All of these varieties are Arabica and most originate from a Typica predecessor, but with wild mutations that result in some exceptional and unique flavour profiles.
This coffee was processed using the natural method; a complex process requiring a high level of attention to detail in order to be done well. Ethiopian coffee has been processed this way by generations of farmers who have mastered the art of the natural method through centuries of tradition and experience.
Mormora take great care in the processing and drying of their naturals, and aim for all of their exportable coffee to be specialty quality. This coffee is classified as Grade 1, indicating that a lot of effort has been put into the selection, grading and drying to ensure the very highest quality coffee is produced.
Each day, carefully hand-picked coffee cherries are delivered to the wet mill and are meticulously hand-sorted prior to processing to remove unripe, overripe, or damaged fruit, in order to enhance the quality and sweetness of the cup.
The coffee is then graded by weight and spread evenly on raised African beds (screens) to sun-dry. Initially, it is laid very thinly and turned regularly to ensure consistent drying and prevent over-fermentation. This is done very carefully to avoid damage to the fruit.
After a few days, when the coffee has reached 25% humidity—this is called the “raisin stage”—the layers of coffee are gradually increased. Careful attention and control during this drying phase ensures the coffee is stable and that a clean and balanced cup profile is achieved. The coffee is turned constantly whilst drying to ensure that it dries evenly and consistently. At midday, the coffee is covered to protect it from full sun. It is also covered overnight to prevent damage from morning dew.
Once the coffee reaches the optimum moisture level (usually after 10 – 14 days), it is hulled and rested in bags in parchment until it is ready for export.
WHY WE LOVE IT
Its really special to have a coffee that is traceable back to a single estate from Ethiopia, and Mormora is a stunning example of a single estate Guji coffee. Its quality has been recognised in various quality awards including the 2012 AFCA ‘Inter Country Taste of Harvest Competition’ and the 2014 ‘National Taste of Harvest Competition’, and it was one of our favourites on the cupping table in Ethiopia this year. In the cup this coffee has an intense fudge like sweetness, with fudge like sweetness, toffee, strawberry compote, red berries. Yum!