While Sagebrush Coffee’s Dry Process Ethiopia Guji does hold some elements in common with other African coffees, the buyer should be aware that this brew is an enigma! Not that this is a bad thing. Common with other coffees of a similar region is the earthiness and spiciness, but the context of these characteristics gives this bean its complexity.
Instead of being down and dirty, the earthiness and spiciness are lifted almost to an herbal level. Striking for a dry-process coffee is the lack of sweet tropical fruit, grape, or nutty flavors that one usually expects from a seed that has essentially been slow-cooked in its own fruit. Instead, lighter roasts especially yield a bold and complex flavor that almost hearken root spice teas or black teas. Also present are anis, non-sweet berry flavors, and a hint of cacao.
The Aeropress produced more refined flavors of the berry/cocoa and root tea characteristics, while the pour-over was a balanced blend that included more of the herbal aspects (although one time I brewed it at the wrong temperature and got nothing but anis flavor! I still drank it though).
While this is not at all what I expected, I was pleasantly surprised by this bean. I am happy I ordered it because it was a chance to try a natural and unique African bean!
Thanks Bill for ordering this coffee and writing a great post! - Matt Kellso