A stellar Gesha coffee, perfumed florals, jasmine and orange blossom, and honeyed sweetness. Tropical fruits, herbal and black teas, cinnamon sticks, and brilliant acidity. "Gesha" characteristics all the way. City to City+.
We've been waiting with much anticipation for our first prized lot of Gesha from the Acatenango region. We buy this Gesha every year, and once again we're absolutely thrilled with the landed coffee. Floral scents, tropical fruit, intense sweetness: this cup is Gesha all the way. If you don't know the story of the Gesha cultivar, it is an old coffee type from Ethiopia that was brought to an experimental coffee garden in Costa Rica years ago as a specimen sample. It was distributed to a few farms for testing on small plots, but not much was thought of it until one of these, Esmeralda in Panama, separated it from the other cultivars and entered it in the national competition. It was so outrageously different, with fruited and floral character like a Yirga Cheffe coffee from half a world away. Now that the word is out, other small farms that received some of the seed have tried to separate their Gesha coffee as well, as is the case here. The results are always a bit different: the cultivar "expresses" itself differently in terms of cup flavors at each location, influenced by weather, soil, altitude and the like. And with this coffee from the region of Acatenango, we have a Gesha cup that expresses much of that floral intensity that's become synonymous with the "Gesha" name. Harvest was quite productive this year as the owner of the farm has dedicated more of his farm to this varietal, which after putting it to the cup test we've decided is a very good thing.
This Gesha lot has such a floral sweetness to it - perfume-like, sweet, complex, and 'fresh' - a set of aromatics we've come to associate with Spring and Summer, the time when this coffee arrives. A set of attributes uniquely 'Gesha', and we're as bowled over by this years' lot as any. The dry fragrance is exceptionally floral, with strong notes of jasmine and sweet pea flowers, thus living up to the expectations. It's a potent ground coffee with lots of herb/floral tea complexity, and loaded with a smell of raw cane juice, or unrefined panela sugar (a traditional reduction of cane juice that we often bring back from our Colombia trips). The wet aromatics are where these smells reach their apex, a heightened floral smell is backed by a solid honey sweetness, rose water, and peach preserves. Like most coffees, when hot the full complexity of this coffee's cup profile is a bit difficult to sense, though floral notes and seemingly tea-like acidity are apparent. But as soon as the temp begins to dip, you're greeted with the same level of intensity as the aromatic profile, City/City+ roasts showing star jasmine and kaffir lime, and a dense honey sweetness and mouthfeel. I love this coffee at a light roast level, highlighting citrus flavors of pomelo, mandarin orange, and pink grapefruit. Acidity pops out on top, citric like lemonade, without the puckering aspect of say, some Kenyan coffees. Much, much more is revealed in the cooling cup - tropical fruit flavors, various herbal and black tea flavors, and a spiced accent of cinnamon sticks. This Gesha has surprisingly juicy body, which sets it apart from many other Geshas we've tasted, a weight that supports the intense cup characteristics and sweetness. It finishes beautifully with notes of Assam tea and even a light dusting of cocoa powder in roasts beyond City+. Full City roasts are more than enjoyable, but I personally wouldn't compromise this complex cup character with darker roasting. Moisture content is average (around 11%), but the bean is dense and large, and I found that the coffee benefited from a handful of seconds beyond the completion of 1st crack, ensuring roast evenness.