Granja La Esperanza is located in the municipality of Trujillo, Valle de Cauca, in the Western Cordillera of Colombia’s Andean mountain range. The Herrera family have been growing coffee for 40 years in Colombia; the farm was started by great-grandparents of the current generation.
Originally the farm had mostly produced Caturra and Typica varietals, but in 2007 the family decided to experiment with two different cultivars: Geisha and Mokka.
The family had a farm in Panama which neighbored the famous Petersons family farm, La Esmeralda—which is noted for its prize winning Geisha varietals. The success of Geisha at La Esmeralda inspired Rigoberto to trial this cultivar at La Esperanza. Their approach was to utilize their experience from Panama and get the best out of what Colombia’s exceptional terroir could add to the fusion with the Geisha cultivar.
The Herrera family brought some seedlings from La Esmeralda, to undertake a trial that was not successful at first.In fact, one section of the crop died out in the first couple months. The family’s passion for their farm and their dedication to their craft is evident, however, with their commitment to replant that section—this time with a protective barrier and a row of eucalyptus trees at the top of the hill to protect against strong winds. Five years later, Cafe Granja La Esperanza achieved a “Triple Crown,” landing in 2nd, 3rd, and 7th place in the SCAA’s Coffees of the Year competition.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Finca Buenos Aires Colombia Gesha, from Reunion Island Coffee in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: Trujillo, Valle de Cauca, Colombia
farm: Café Granja La Esperanza (Finca Buenos Aires microlot)
producer: Rigoberto and Luis Herrera
elevation: 1700 – 1800 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, patio dried
This is an incredibly fragrant coffee. The dry and wet aromas of this Colombia Gesha is pretty delicate and nuanced, with wisps of florals (black tea, lavender, bergamot) and dark berries.
Taking my first few sips from the cup, the flavor profile is really taking me by surprise. Knowing that this coffee is a Colombia Gesha going into the cupping, I was expecting a cup that’s bright and lively and tropical fruity; after smelling the aroma, I thought the flavor profile might follow the nose. Neither is accurate. Instead, this silky, medium-bodied coffee is surprisingly spicy and earthy as I’m tasting pretty distinct flavors of earth, cooking spices (clove, anise), and wood. I’m also surprised by the presence of bittersweet dark chocolate and macadamia nut. These are all flavors that I would never expect to find in a Gesha (especially not in a Colombia Gesha) and, yet, they’re all here in one cup. Of course there are the more commonplace fruit and floral notes—particularly as the cup cools off—but I’m just so struck by the other flavors I’ve run into thus far. Blackberry, cranberry, apricot, and nectarine mingle with nuances of Earl Grey tea and bergamot through a mildly dry finish.
Gesha coffees are considered to be among the rarest, most dynamic, and most prized coffees in the world. As Meister points out on Serious Eats, this highly sought-after variety is much, much different than its Latin American counterparts: “instead of the chocolate and mellow-but-crisp acidity that quality coffees from Panama typically express, these are more delicate and intensely floral, not unlike the heirloom Ethiopian varieties…” I’d like to add that Geshas are also renown for their bright, vibrant tropical fruit flavors.
And as rare and prized as Geshas are, Reunion Island Coffee’s Finca Buenos Aires Colombia Gesha is, without a doubt, the most unique and interesting Gesha I’ve ever tasted. I’ve never tasted a Gesha that was so earthy and spicy before. And not only was it very unique and complex, it was really tasty, too.
There are only six bags of this coffee left, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. This rare and unique coffee definitely should not be missed.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.