Guji Liyu


Taste notes:

Apricot - Nectarine - Honeysuckle

Recommended for:

Espresso - Filter - Cafetiere - Aeropress - Chemex - Hario V60 - Syphon - Stovetop

Clear selection



This washed lot ‘Liyu’ from Guji, Sidama Zone, Southern Ethiopia is a beautifully complex, sweet bodied coffee. Piquant acidity with notes of apricot, nectarine, melon and honeysuckle floral tones.

It is widely believed that coffee originates from Ethiopia and is therefore, indigenous to the country. There are some other suggestions however, that it may have all started in Sudan – a debate for another day perhaps. Generally speaking, it is the town of Kaffa (from which coffee derives its name), that is considered the birthplace of this amazing commodity. To this day, coffee grows quite happily in the wild and can be found in the hills and forests all over the country.

Research suggests that coffee was originally used as a food – ground still raw and blended with animal fats. ‘Kaldi’ is of course, the famous name in the coffee industry. Legend has it, it was this goat-herder who discovered coffee. He copied his goats by eating the bright red cherries that made them so lively and in doing so, joined in with their wild dancing. A preacher, observing such frivolities, hurled Kaldi’s cherries onto a fire declaring them the devil’s work – that is until the air was filled with the delightful aromas of the roasting beans, whereby he declared such a fragrance to be purely the work of God!

Ethiopia produces a wide range of coffee with each region’s beans having very distinctive characteristics, making some of these the most sought after in the world. Key producing regions include Harar, Sidamo, Yirgacheffe (in Sidamo), Limu, Djimmah, Lekempti and Bebeka. Ethiopia is the largest coffee producer in Africa and in the Arabica league, is third in the world with a production of between 4 and 5 million bags.

The ‘Heirloom’ varieties most resemble the ‘Typica’ variety, although there is no exact way of tracing their development and biological background – creating somewhat, an air of mystery! There are now over 1000 different heirloom varieties growing in the wild forests of Ethiopia and the first steps to separating them into specific lots are underway. These varieties are responsible for some of the most coveted cup profiles/characteristics in the world – florals, citrus, cocoa, wild berries, amongst many others.

Coffee in Ethiopia has been traded on the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX), since 2008. The ECX was established to create a new market place, which serves the needs of all the people involved in the coffee supply chain, from the farmers to the final consumer. Previously, only a third of all the agricultural products produced in Ethiopia reached the open market, due to high costs and risks involved with trading. There was no assurance of product quality or quantity, which meant buyers would only trade with suppliers they knew and trusted. This resulted in many of Ethiopia’s agricultural producers becoming isolated from the market, forcing them to sell their produce to the nearest buyer, and leaving them unable to negotiate on price or improve their market position.

With the introduction of the ECX, coffee exports in Ethiopia have become centralised, enabling more smallholder producers to have access to the global market. 90% of all the coffee produced in Ethiopia now moves through the ECX, where it is cupped and graded according to flavour profile and quality.

This coffee comes from the Sidama zone in the region of Oromia in southern Ethiopia. Guji is a relatively remote district found in East Sidamo and was named after one of the tribes of the Oromo people. More than any other country, Ethiopia has a broad genetic diversity among its coffee varieties, with each type having distinctive taste, shape and colour. As a result, each region in the country can offer a different flavour profile, forming the grading system for Ethiopian coffees e.g. Sidamo, Harrar, Limu, Djimmah etc. Guji coffee is well known for its complex floral aroma and citrus notes.

Processing in Guji can take the form of both ‘washed’ and ‘natural’ lots, with most of the coffee growing at over 2000 metres above sea level. Much of the coffee grown in Ethiopia is done so using traditional methods, under shade trees alongside other crops and without the use of chemicals. It is grown by smallholders, who often have just 1-2 hectares of coffee growing in their back garden.

Working in partnership with Addis Exporter, a business with more than 100 years’ experience in exporting high quality coffee from Ethiopia, our supplier has been able to select a complex washed coffee, given the name ‘Liyu’. The smallholder farmers have hand-picked their cherries and sold them to a local trader who oversees the processing and sorting before selling the beans to the ECX, who grade the beans according to SCAA standards. Addis Exporter then purchases the top quality lots from the ECX and selects the best for their Guji washed ‘Liyu’.

Through the purchase of this coffee, our supplier has included a donation to the ‘Girls Gotta Run Foundation’ (GGRF) in the price paid for the Guji Liyu. This is a non-profit organisation that empowers girls in Ethiopia through running and education. The UN Population Fund, identified that early marriage is the most prevalent factor in cutting short the education of girls across all regions in Ethiopia.

Although the government has outlawed marriage under the age of 18, 24% of girls are still taken out of school and married by the age of 15. Whilst most girls supported by the GGRF do not become professional athletes, some of them do and the ‘Athletic Scholarships’ provided, allows them to stay in school, further their education at university and ultimately, leaves them better equipped to face the challenges posed to them in their most vulnerable years. For further info please visit:

Cupping Chart


Altitude: 1,950 - 2,150 metres above sea level
City: Guji, East Sidamo
Country: Ethiopia
Farm: Smallholders
Owner: Smallholders
Processing: Washed
RecommendedFor: Espresso - Filter - Cafetiere - Aeropress - Chemex - Hario V60 - Syphon - Stovetop
Varietals: Heirloom


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