As another year drew to an end, so to was our monthly subscription format.
With this in mind, we couldn't let the opporunity to work with Meebz Coffee Roasters pass us by. Like us, Mike has an eye for something just a little special and always delivers coffee's that get us excited. December was quite unexpected. We knew we would be impressed, but what we found in the cup was simply, incredible. It threw the rulebook out the window with what we thought an Ethipopian Guji coffee was, with a body light and delicate like nothing we've experienced from Guji before.
Before we dive into the coffee, lets look at Meebz Coffee, through our lens;
Our first collaboration with Meebz was a little over 12 months in the making. It was clear to us from the beginning that Mike was passionate about coffee, beyond the cup.
On the horizon was his first origin trip to Colombia with Cofinet, and this was to form the basis of our collaboration. A deeper connection and knowledge of the coffee they are serving.
Based on Auckland's North Shore, Meebz Coffee Roasters are a small but dedicated team of coffee professionals with a combined passion that sees them bat well above their weight.
Over the years we have been fortunate enough to collaborate with Meebz many times, each of which
opened our minds to new coffees and origins, not just through our monthly subscription, but also our special features and the occasional personal invitation of “you need to try this.”
Situated in the southern Guji zone, is home to the Giji Oromo people and Guji Highlands Coffee Plantation, a family-owned business founded in 2012. Operations encompass the 250-ha farm, and dry mill, while also collecting coffee from local small lot holders.
Alongside organic farming practices, the farm benefits from a semi-forested environment, provided by a combination of indigenous and common tall shade trees, with nutrients provided by decades of natural compost breaking down on the forest floor. Each year new seedlings are planted to replace older trees as they become less productive, with seeds provided by a local heirloom known as the “mother tree”. The farm is home to a lodge, built to offer accommodation to coffee buyers while visiting the farm.
In addition to purchasing cherry from local farmers, Guji Highland also offers training to help farmers upskill, both on the farm and at the mill.
Specialising in organic, natural processing of coffee, coffee is hand sorted by colour to eliminate defective beans before being mechanically sorted by density ahead of being electronically screened for defects such as pitting, discolouration or deformation.
Firstly, it is estimated that Ethiopia is home to between 10-25,000 different varieties of Coffea Arabica. Typically Ethiopian coffee is divided into Local landrace varieties or JARC varieties.
Jimma Agricultural Research Centre (JARC) gave way to approximately 40 varieties, developed through selection or cultivars bred for their resistance to pests, or higher yields. The all-encompassing term, “Heirloom”, is rumoured to have originated with the third wave, otherwise known as the specialty coffee movement.
The generic term “heirloom” encompasses local landrace varieties that grow wild in Ethiopia. While these are often identifiable by the local people, who have named them after trees with similar characteristics, being these are local words and not scientific names, they mean little when removed from the community to which they are home, only offering more confusion.
There are various thoughts on what defines a “heirloom” variety, in terms of age, but it is safe to say any variety available before the introduction of hybrids in 1945.
In many cases, varieties grown in one region of Ethiopia are not found in other regions, combined with the garden- grown nature of small lot holders, it is often not practical
to separate lots by variety.
For small lots, even singular varieties, it's not cost-effective to sell the 10kg produced for the grower, nor the buyer, resulting in regional bulking of lots from different farms that have chosen their different varieties for differing reasons.
Region: Shakiso, Oromia
Producer: Guji Highland Coffee Plantation
Altitude: 2000 – 2300 M.A.S.L
Variety: Heirloom Typica
Tasting Notes: Pineapple, Lemonade, Orange,
Vanilla and Macadamia
Vivid citrus acidity