Delicate wafer cookie and orange blossom aromatics introduce a flavor profile that is gorgeously crisp and refreshing. In the cup, this beautifully processed lot offers a lovely melon-like sweetness that is perfectly complemented by juicy flavors of strawberry and key lime.
Kedir Jebril is becoming a famous name thanks to the pristine clarity of his wet processed coffees, produced in the Gogugu kebele in Ethiopia’s Guji region. Thanks to extraordinarily meticulous cherry selection and processing management, this 2021 harvest selection from Kedir’s Wate Gogugu washing station offers a simply immaculate representation of time and place.
The Guji region, a dramatic landscape characterized by mountainous forests and bucolic, high-elevation grasslands, has earned international renown in recent years as the source of many of Ethiopia’s most extraordinary coffees. While relatively young coffee trees and staggeringly high elevations have certainly been contributing factors to this achievement, Guji’s recent rise to prominence is also traceable to the dedication and industry of a group of individuals who saw potential in the region at an early stage and have overseen the development of a number of washing stations that have gradually become famous names within the specialty coffee industry. Wate Gogugu is already becoming one of these names, and the person chiefly responsible for its success is Kedir Jebril.
Kedir is the youngest of three Jebril brothers who are all important names in the evolving story of specialty coffee production in Guji. His brother Feku is the owner and manager of the Yabitu Koba processing site (the source of a number of recent Reserve Lots on Passenger’s menu) and his brother Abdi operates another washing station at Larcho Torka that is similarly known for top quality production. Kedir got his start in the coffee industry as the owner of a trucking company that he founded to transport coffee from processing sites high in the mountains of Guji to larger trading towns in the valleys. With money saved from the transport company, Kedir built two washing stations in close proximity to the Gogugu kebele (in Ethiopia a kebele is the smallest administrative unit, akin to a ward or neighborhood). Kedir named his first site Bekaka Gogugu and his second, most recently built, washing station is called Wate Gogugu.
In a region that has no shortage of meticulously managed washing stations, Kedir’s sites are still notable, thanks to his highly focused, almost obsessive, approach to cherry selection and processing. While many washing stations begin to process cherry deliveries as Grade 1 lots (the highest quality designation) within the first few weeks of the harvest, Kedir waits longer, processing these early deliveries as Grade 2 lots, and only using the densest, most consistently ripe fruit - delivered over about two weeks at the heart of the harvest - for his Grade 1 lots. When processing his washed coffees, Kedir typically employs an especially long fermentation time, often in the neighborhood of 60 hours rather than the more usual 48, and carefully soaks the coffees overnight after they have been washed in the grading channels. For the first few days of drying, the coffee is covered by a breathable fabric to reduce the risk of the parchment cracking, a precaution that helps to protect the integrity of the green seeds inside. After approximately 12 days of drying is complete and the parchment has achieved its target moisture content, it is transferred to a warehouse to be conditioned for approximately one month.
While Kedir Jebril’s exacting methods certainly limit the total volume of Grade 1 coffee that he can produce each year, the best lots from his Gogugu sites are absolutely sparkling representations of this beautiful region and a fitting tribute to the care and attention to detail that characterize his approach. We are incredibly proud to have the opportunity to share one of his beautiful coffees this year, and very excited for the future of his project.