When you’re new to the world of specialty coffee, it can be overwhelming to keep up with the latest trends, confusing terminology, and a seemingly endless variety of origins and roasting styles. As you gain experience, it becomes easier to tell a South American coffee from an African coffee and, eventually, identifying coffee from specific countries will be second nature to you. And then, right when you start feeling comfortable, an obscure origin or style will come out of nowhere and knock your socks off. Enter Ethiopian Wush Wush coffee.
In this article, we will cover one of the hottest trends in the coffee world: Ethiopian Wush Wush. Many people are familiar with Ethiopian coffee’s bright acidity and fruity flavor profile, but Ethiopian Wush Wush is a different beast. We’ll explain what makes it different from a farming perspective and discuss how to brew it and what flavors you can expect to find in your cup.
What’s In a Name?
Ethiopian Wush Wush gets its name from the region in Ethiopia where it was originally found. Wushwush is a region of southwest Ethiopia with ideal conditions for growing coffee. The Wushwush region has high-altitude areas with fertile, nutrient-dense soil perfect for cultivating rich, complex coffee. Wushwush is more well-known for growing tea, and, as we’ll see, some of the characteristics of Wush Wush coffee are reminiscent of tea.
Today, Wush Wush coffee is grown outside of Ethiopia, most notably in Colombia. The Colombian climate is perfect for growing coffee, and the Wush Wush variety does exceptionally well there.
A good starting point for orienting your expectations of Wush Wush coffee is Geisha coffee. Like all coffee varieties, Wush Wush can taste dramatically different depending on how it’s processed, roasted, and brewed. In general, Wush Wush is powerfully fruity and floral, with a very high level of sweetness.
Naturally processed Wush Wush takes the innate sweetness to another level and makes for an almost dessert-like experience. Interestingly, high-sweetness coffees with overpowering fruity notes are great learning tools for new coffee cuppers. Beginners often have difficulty picking out tasting notes and can benefit from tasting a powerful one-note variety.
Although it will differ from one batch to the next, most Wush Wush coffee has notes of strawberry, lychee, candied fruit, and a complex mix of floral notes like juniper and sage. Less common flavors are banana, date, and overripe fruit. The common thread tying all Wush Wush together is prominent fruity notes and extreme sweetness.
Brewing Wush Wush Coffee
Ethiopian Wush Wush coffee is usually roasted light, making it suitable for use in pour-overs. Immersion-style brewers and espresso could also work well but usually require a roast closer to medium-light or medium to really shine. We recommend using a Chemex or V60 to brew Wush Wush since these methods will bring out the natural sweetness and fruity tasting notes.
Where to Get Wush Wush
Unfortunately, getting your hands on some Wush Wush won’t be easy. Most Wush Wush is produced in small batches, and since it is a rare variety to begin with, roasters typically don’t have it on hand. Even if you’re lucky enough to find some in stock, be prepared to pay a pretty penny. The price will vary between roasters, but $30 per 12 ounces seems to be the going rate.
When we tried to restock on Wush Wush, we were disappointed to find most of our go-to roasters either didn’t list Wush Wush at all or were currently out of stock. Your best bet is to contact your favorite roaster directly to ask about stocking Wush Wush. Many specialty roasters are happy to discuss acquiring specific varieties for customers, especially customers they already have a relationship with. If you decide to try this route, you should be prepared to pay an even heftier price.
Because of the high price and difficulty finding Wush Wush, we can’t recommend Wush Wush as a daily driver coffee. However, if you want to try a unique, complex, flavor bomb of a coffee unlike any other coffee you’ve had before, Wush Wush should be at the top of your list.
Ethiopian Wush Wush is all the rage these days because of its unique flavor profile and astronomical levels of sweetness. Finding Wush Wush in stock can be a challenge but is well worth the effort.
Even if Wush Wush continues to increase in popularity over the next few years, it is unlikely that prices will decrease since it is a rare variety and only produced in select regions in small batches. As a gift or one-off coffee experience, Wush Wush is an excellent choice, but don’t expect it to become your go-to morning cup.
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