Sawana is a kebele (village) in the region of Odo Shakisso in Guji. It is here that Wodessa Yachisi and his family own and and run the Guji Highland Estate. This organic semi-forest farm separates coffee lots based on the different areas of the estate, and also work with and buy coffee cherries from growers located in the areas around the estate as well. Coffee from the estate is combined with coffee from the farmers to make community specific selections like this offering from Sawana.
In the year 2000, Wodessa Yachisi went into a joint venture setting up the well known Mormora Coffee Estate in Guji. 12 years later Wodessa and his family wanted to do it all again, and established the Guji Highland Estate. The estate was set up on 250 hectares of forested land not too far from Moromora. When first established in 2012, Guji Highland preserved the upper canopy of the forest and created what is known as a semi-forest coffee production. The preservation of the old growth trees coupled with excellent organic production systems make this estate a standout in the world when looking at sustainable coffee ecosystems. The Guji Highland Estate also provides organic coffee production training and services to the small-holder growers they work with. This allows them to further establish best farm practices for the area.
Concord Grape, Bakers Chocolate, Lemon
This is not your wild or funky natural coffee. This is a soft sweet- cleaner profile natural from Ethiopia. The sweet grape notes and chocolate combined with other berries and bright fruits, but are not overpowering- allowing a light lemon citrus acidity to carry the profile.
Coffee cherries are laid out in thin layers and dried on raised beds for approx 15-21 days depending on weather. During this time the coffee cherries are constantly turned throughout the day to ensure even drying. During the initial drying all under-ripe cherry is sorted out.
Odo Shakisso, Guji
The wordea (disctrict) of Odo Shakisso is in the southern Ethiopian region of Guji. Odo Shakisso is surrounded by the well known coffee growing districs of; Birbisa Kojowa to the west, Hambela Wamena to the northwest and, to the north and northeast by Uraga, Bore, Ana Sora, and Adola. While some of these other districts are popular for coffee today, many people give credit to the large estates in Odo Shakisso for first putting the whole region of Guji on the map over a decade ago. Estates like Mordecofe, Suke Quoto, and Mormora set a high bar for their quality, and were followed by estates like Kayon Mountain, Guji Highland, and now many others.
Many of the estates in Odo Shakisso (including the Guji Highland estate) are classified as a semi-forest coffee production. In this system farm owners leave the old growth upper canopy of the forest and take out the lower canopy shrubs that is then replaced with coffee. While maybe not a perfect system or solution for protecting the forest. These farms, which are often organic certified, are impressive in comparison to many other farming systems. They often boast an amazing shade canopy (often exceeding 80% or more shade coverage), and some of the best plant diversity and nutrient rich topsoil in the world.
While coffee is a big deal in the region of Odo Shakisso, the region is also very famous for it's gold and tantalum mines. (tantalum is an expensive corrosion resistant metal often used in capacitors.) While the gold mines in this region are very famous in the country, and have generate huge sums of money, they have also faced controversy in regards to environmental protections, investment in the community, and have even faced protest from the local community.
Between the coffee, the precious metals, and the impressive geography, Odo Shakisso is a standout and nuanced region in Southern Ethiopia.
New in 2018/19
New Washing Station Site and New Management
When the Guji Highland Estate was first established in 2012, they produced only natural coffee. A few years later, the estate established the Allona washing station to produce washed coffees for the first time. In late 2018 the estate built their second site in the kabele of Dambi Uddo.
In 2018, Guji Highlands also promoted Leul Eilu as their new managing director.