Episode 607

Ethiopia Banko Gutiti Washed

Ethiopia is widely considered to be the birthplace of coffee, and it's the only indigenous place in which coffee grows. Some of the plant stock can only be found in Ethiopia and has the ability to offer some of the most amazing and diverse cup profiles. With this diversity comes all manner of coffees from different ends of the spectrum (I have tasted many very ordinary lots that I would never stock) and it's why Africa remains a tough place for us to find consistent and amazing coffee – but I have also tasted some of the most special coffees ever from this region, and Africa has the ability to show the non-believers that coffee can taste of other things.

Located in the the Kochere Region, near Yirgacheffe, is the Banko Gutiti Mill, where the combination of high altitude, fertile soil, consistent and plentiful rains, and an abundance of local knowledge all come together to produce, arguably, some of the most in-demand coffee in the world. Owned by Alemu Bukato, and in the ‘Southern Nations, Nationalities & Peoples’ (SNNP) region of Ethiopia, there are almost 650 smallholders who contribute to the coffee produced at this mill! These smallholders typically have a very small (hence the name!) patch of land, on which they grow their coffee, and they are able to bring their ripe coffee cherries to this wetmill for sorting, processing and selling.

Once the cherries are delivered to the wetmill, they are carefully sorted and pulped, before being fermented for 36-48 hours, depending on the climate and humidity conditions. Once the cherries have been fermented, the coffee is thoroughly washed and graded by bean density before being dried in the sun on raised African beds for 12 - 15 days. During this drying period, there's a lot that goes in to making sure the coffee is dried evenly: In the daytime the coffee is raked and turned periodically to ensure a consistent drying process. The coffee is also covered between 12pm and 3pm to protect it from the hot sun, and at night time to protect it from rainfall and moisture. This requires a lot of careful attention and we think it really shows in the cup!

Up front this is lemon cordial, refreshing but also sweet and juicy. There’s a hint of black tea on the finish and a delicate floral edge running through it all, but the citrus is the there again on the aftertaste as orange zest and reminds us this one is all about the fruit.

  • Country: Ethiopia
  • Region: Gutiti Kebele
  • District: Kochere
  • Mill location: Banko Gutiti
  • Mill Manager: Alemu Bukato
  • Varietal: Indigenous wild
  • Processing: Washed
  • Altitude: 1,900-2,100 m.a.s.l.
  • Rainfall: 1800–2000 mm
  • Soil: Fertile, red-brown, well drained


Lemon cordial, black tea, orange zest, floral.

Clean cup: (1–8): 7
Sweetness: (1–8): 6.5
Acidity: (1–8): 7
Mouthfeel: (1–8): 6.5
Flavour: (1–8): 6.5
Aftertaste: (1–8): 6
Balance: (1–8): 6
Overall: (1–8): 7.5
Correction: (+36): +36

Total (max. 100): 88

Roast Information
Medium – Don't go too slow - you want to highlight the lovely zing of the lemon. Push it through first crack and drop it once you're in the gap.

Next episode

Episode 608

Watch episode