Lot #209 has "fresh" aromatics, jasmine and gardenia florals, pearl and Assam tea, clean sugar sweetness, lemon water, mandarin orange, bubble gum, and peach hard candy. City to Full City (tops).
Lot #209 is the first of a series of individual Gesha lots we purchased from a coffee estate in the Acatenango region. We buy this Gesha every year, and this year we decided to offer seperated lots instead of blending into one final coffee. We found that all of the coffee lots share similar cup characteristics. Afterall, they are the same cultivar pulled from the the same farm. But flavor profiles did vary slightly, as did our scores, and so we think it's only fair to offer them as unique offerings to highlight their differences, and to keep things fresh. 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 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 again as the owner of the farm has dedicated even more of his farm to this varietal, which after putting it to the cup test we've decided is a very good thing.
Floral sweetness is part of what's unique about the Gesha cultivar - perfume-like, sweet, complex, and 'fresh' - a set of aromatics we've come to associate with Spring and Summer, the time when this Gesha arrives. The dry fragrance of lot 1 is a bit more subdued than what we expect from this coffee. Jasmine notes do accent raw sugar sweetness, but I wouldn't say it "bowled us over" as it has in the past. (That said, put it next to another coffee from the region and I think we'd all say otherwise!). The wet aromatics, however, are where fresh florals and clean sugary sweet smells reach their apex, a perfumed gardenia-like scent, and cooked stone fruit, pectin sweetness underneath. Jasmine and rose water florals are apparent at a fairly wide roast range, however I would caution against taking anywhere near Full City+ as the roast tones will dominate much of the top note complexity. We do get customer feedback from time to time asking what all the fuss is about with Gesha, and I would say 9 times out of 10, they roast the coffee too dark to find out. I love drinking light and even closer to middle roasts of this coffee (City to City+), where citrus flavors of lemon water and mandarin orange highlight the cup, and vibrant acidity threads together the complex accent notes that hang way out in the aroma: lemon and limade, pearl jasmine and sencha teas, bubble gum, and peach hard candy. This Gesha has surprisingly juicy body when taken into City+, which sets it apart from many other Geshas we've tasted, a weight that supports the intense cup characteristics and sweetness. The finish is filled out with notes of cardamom spice and even a light dusting of cocoa powder in roasts beyond City+. Full City roasts are enjoyable, but I personally wouldn't compromise this complex cup character with darker roasting. As usual, these Gesha beans iare dense and large, and I found that the coffee benefited from a handful of seconds beyond the completion of 1st crack, ensuring roast evenness.