If you don’t know the story of the Geisha 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 Yirgacheffe 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 Geisha 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.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Guatemala Acetenango Geisha Finca El Zapote, from Craft and Mason Coffee Roasters in Lansing, Michigan. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Acatenango, Guatemala
farm/factory: Finca El Zapote
producer: Julio Melendez Perez
elevation: 1600 – 1800 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, patio dried
The aroma of the Acatenango Geisha is quite pleasant, with notes of flower petals, roasted nuts, and soft citrus, but there is also a bit of a musty earthiness and mellow cedar spiciness.
Diving into my first few sips of the coffee immediately post-brew and, I have to say—I’m pleasantly surprised! After some initial tastes of carbon and roasted hazelnut up front, the coffee mellows and presents my palate with flavors of milk chocolate, violet petals, cherry tobacco, maple brown sugar oatmeal, and a soft citrus acidity.
As it cools off, juicy, silky, lush fruits take over the cup while a bed of sweet creme de leche provides a supple buoyancy on the tongue. Apple, plum, raisin, tart raspberry, and a candied citrus acidity dance on the palate while floral aromatics rise up and tickle the roof of the mouth. There is, however, something of a sour medicinal taste in the finish of each sip—like black licorice mixed with cherry cough syrup and Diet Dr. Pepper.
Medium body; supple mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
The Acatenango Geisha is far and away the best offering I had from Craft and Mason Coffee Roasters this weekend. It’s not a perfect coffee, but it is tasty, very flavorful, and has great definition. The coffee could have been developed better and a little more refined, but it was still very enjoyable—one that I’d be happy to have served to me in a cafe.
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