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Guria: The Overlooked Coffee Paradise of Georgia

Guria: The Overlooked Coffee Paradise of Georgia

Introduction to Guria's Coffee Growing Region

Guria is one of the lesser-known coffee growing regions of Georgia. It is located in the southwestern part of the country, along the Black Sea coast. The sub-tropical climate and fertile soils of Guria provide ideal conditions for growing high quality Arabica coffee.

According to coffee experts, Guria has been producing coffee since the 19th century. However, its remote location and small output volumes have kept it relatively obscure compared to other famous coffee origins. This is a shame, because Guria deserves far more recognition for its exquisite coffees.

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in Guria's coffee. A growing number of specialty roasters and cafes have begun to source beans from this overlooked region and showcase them to coffee lovers worldwide. As awareness spreads, Guria is steadily gaining its rightful place among the storied coffee regions of the world.

Unique Terroir and Processing Methods of Guria

What makes Guria's coffees special is its unique terroir - the combination of climate, soil, and local growing practices. Guria has a mild, humid climate with warm summers and mild winters. This allows the coffee trees to grow healthy and produce exceptional beans.

The soil in Guria is volcanic and rich in minerals like magnesium and potassium - vital nutrients for coffee trees. This imparts a clean, sweet flavor profile to the beans, with nice acidity and complexity.

Guria's coffee farmers use traditional methods to process the fresh cherries. The beans are hand-picked and then sun-dried on raised beds for 10-15 days. This slow, gentle drying enhances the flavor development. The dried beans are then hulled and sorted before export.

Notable Coffee Estates and Flavor Profiles

Some of the best coffees from Guria come from family-run estates located on the slopes of the Meskheti mountain range. Two estates which produce particularly high quality coffees are:

  • Chkmeruli estate - Located at 1700 masl altitude, this estate produces coffees with notes of juicy nectarine, honey, and milk chocolate. The acidity is vibrant but smooth.

  • Shavi Tsqali estate - Grown at 1400 masl, this coffee offers floral aromas of jasmine and lavender, with sweet, berry-toned acidity. The finish is clean and refreshing.

Other notable estates producing distinctive Guria coffees are Jumati, Samtskhe, and Mitarbi. Each estate imparts its own terroir-driven qualities to the beans.

Growth Potential and Challenges Facing Guria's Coffee Sector

Looking ahead, Guria has strong potential to grow into a globally recognized specialty coffee origin. With its unique terrain and flavors, improving infrastructure, and farming expertise, Guria can significantly expand production and gain prestige.

However, some challenges remain. Small farm sizes, lack of modern processing facilities, and minimal marketing outreach are limiting factors. Investment in technologies and establishing cooperatives can help overcome these hurdles.

Despite the challenges, Guria's future looks bright. As the coffee gains exposure through trade events like the Specialty Coffee Expo and gets promoted by passionate roasters, it is sure to find growing success worldwide. The incredible cup quality will speak for itself.

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