Girma Eshetu

The Story - 

Mr. Eshetu’s story begins in Guji, Ethiopia, where he was the first person in his family to put himself through university. From here, he went on to become a machinist and engineer, working for St George Brewery, a national institution, for over 30 years before starting his own company called ‘Girma Eshetu Manufacturing’, where his first successful product was a small coffee pulping machine, machines that can still be seen around Ethiopia.

His quest to source raw materials to lower his production costs brought him to the region of Keffa, where he started to notice that the people there look remarkably like him. You see, Mr. Eshetu never knew where his father was from, as he and his mother were relocated to another part of the country after his father died, and his mother never told him where exactly he was born. He decided to ask around and see if anyone knew of his father or grandfather, and met a woman who told him the same story about his grandfather that he was told as a child. It was at this moment, he says, that he knew that he wanted to return to his ancestral homelands, and with his background in building coffee equipment, why not grow coffee here?

This was only a few years ago. Now, harvesting for just the third time, Mr. Eshetu has 230,000 coffee trees over 120 hectares, and is making huge strides towards continuously improving coffee quality. This is especially challenging however, due the the remoteness of his farm. His farm is only accessible by horseback - 1.5 hours away from the nearest road. Despite this, Mr Eshetu continues to make strides, not only in the quality of his coffee, but also in improving the lives of his workers by continuing to improve the comfort of worker housing, improving sanitary facilities and more.

Nerdy Coffee Stuff - 

This harvest, Mr Eshetu decided to split the farm in half, with an eastern block (Mirab), and a western bloc (Mizrak), to see how the slight differences in terroir effected flavor. This lot is from the eastern bloc, and shows remarkable clarity.

After only ripe cherries were picked from this part of the farm, they were sorted, and then depulped using Mr Eshetu’s very own coffee depulper. The coffee was then fermented for 48 hours, followed by a 24 hour soak. It is this extended fermentation that helps develop the amazing acidity in this coffee, like lime. Finally, the coffee was dried on raised beds for 10 - 12 days.

This year, Mr Eshetu also started experimenting with drying on high quality burlap vs plastic, and even fermenting coffee using specific yeasts. We’re super excited to see how these experiments play out in the future!

Traceability - 

We worked with our friends at Crop to Cup Importers to bring this super fresh Ethiopia in. They’ve been working with Mr Eshetu since his first harvest, and continue to invest in his project. We paid $4.86 per pound, and cupped it at an 88.75.

  • The commodity price when we bought this was $1.16


Brewing Info - 

Filter Coffee - V60

20g in - 320g out - 1:16 Ratio     60g bloom for 30 seconds with a stir. Then pour the rest of the water in slow concentric circles. Finish pouring between 1:00 - 1:10 and finish draining between 3:00 - 3:30.

I really like this coffee on the V60. The gorgeous floral notes and juicy acidity became super apparent in a V60. This coffee is quite dense though, so you need a longer brew time/finer grind to achieve balance. Under-extraction in this coffee just tastes really bright, but in an unpleasant way, like a really old, salty lime. Overextraction becomes really heavy and dense, like molasses. When you get it right, it should be floral and sweet, with juicy fruit punch, raspberry, lime acidity and delicate honeydew melon.

Espresso -

20g in - 50g out - 28-32 seconds

Girma Eshetu makes a really wonderful, sweet and floral espresso. By itself it’s floral like jasmine, bright like lime, but really amplifies this incredible and juicy fruit punch thing; think the fruit punch kool aid. Because this coffee is so delicate it’s not the best to throw in milk, but it can work quite well with up to about 3oz of milk, or a cortado. Here, it starts to take on a pastry-like quality, with a hint of lime. It really reminds me of keylime pie!