Suke Quto is a producer’s association located in the Oodo Shakisso district of Ethiopia’s southern zone of Guji near our long time Direct Trade producer Haile Gebre’s Mordecofe farm. Set on gentle slopes between mountains and highland plateaus, the farmland has dark brown, volcanic, loamy soil. Guji is in the southern part of the Oromia region, the largest and most populous state in Ethiopia, bordering the Sidamo and Gedeo zones.
The Oodo Shakisso district is ideally suited for coffee cultivation and is rich in many minerals, including gold. Cultivars grown in Ethiopia are highly regionalized distinct local strains of coffees that have spread from the wild forest plants of western Ethiopia, to Harar in the east and the southern districts like Guji. In 2001, the Tade Highland Forest Coffee Producer Company implemented a project in Oodo Shakisso building a washing station and nursery. They began education programs for local coffee producers about quality coffee cultivation. Some of Tade’s goals include planting more coffee seedlings (along with other indigenous trees and diversified crops), hiring women in the area, bringing more farmers into the producer’s association and strengthening the local economy through exporting premium quality coffee.
The sixty-eight producer members of Suke Quto cultivate their heirloom Ethiopian varietals on 291 hectares. Most of the coffee in the region has been planted since 2004 and this lot represents the finest coffee from their fourth harvest. At Tade’s washing station there are nine permanent workers including the general manager, Tesfaye Bekele, an agronomist, a horticulture specialist, an accountant, and a coffee quality specialist. After careful cherry selection, this lot was milled with a McKinnon 4 disc depulper. Then the beans were traditionally fermented in concrete tanks for up to 48 hours, washed in extended channels that provided density separation, soaked to increase fruit-like acidity and dried on raised beds.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Ethiopia Suke Quto, from Tony’s Coffee in Bellingham, Washington. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Guji Zone, Oromia, Ethiopia
farm: Mubuyu Estate
producer: Tesfaye Bekele
association: Suke Quto
elevation: 1800 – 1930 meters above sea level
cultivars: Kurume, Welicho, Ethiopia Heirloom
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Suke Quto is sweet, fragrant, and delicate with scents of honey, flowers (rose, violet, chamomile), citrus, and stone fruit.
As I take my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, my palate is greeted by a silky coffee that is immediately bright, juicy, and sweet. Sea salt caramel, taffy, ginger snaps, and a light dusting of ground cocoa bean coat the palate first, followed by a surge of peach of crisp red delicious apple.
As it cools off, the cup gets even brighter and a bit tart. The peach and apple intensify, and even more fruit flavors and floral aromatics come forward. Now I’m getting notes of rose hips, violet blossoms, chamomile, nectarine, pomegranate, apricot, lime, and a flavor that is really reminiscent of India Pale Ale hops; now, the packaging says “cascade hops”—I don’t know from cascade hops, but there is a definite hoppiness here so, sure, we’ll go with cascade hops.
Medium body; silky mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
The Suke Quto, from Tony’s Coffee, is a beautiful and elegant Ethiopian coffee. Silky, delicate, sweet, tart, somewhat effervescent. Just a really dynamic coffee.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.