Gesha Village lies in the Bench Maji zone of South Western Ethiopia, not far from the border with South Sudan. This area, in the high altitude humid forests where the Great Rift Valley passes into South Sudan, is thought to be the birthplace of Arabica coffee, and is still home to great genetic diversity. Here at Gesha Village however, one varietal sits in the spotlight; Geisha. Adam Overton and Rachel Samuel first travelled to Ethiopia in 2007 to make a documentary about its unique method of coffee production, and fell in love with the country. They decided during that short trip that they would eventually move to the country to start producing coffee themselves. They found a 471 hectare plot of land in Bench Maji, further west than we normally find specialty coffee in Ethiopia, in a remote area of untouched high altitude forest. The wild forest remained as coffee was planted, maintaining as much as possible of the biodiversity so crucial to the Ethiopian mode of production, while also providing ample shade for the fragile Geisha trees.
When preparing Gesha Village, the team trekked into the forest and gathered seeds from the wild coffee trees, selecting those that genetically resembled the original 1931 expedition Geisha.
This isn’t just any Geisha however. Gesha Village is located only around 20 km from the Gori Gesha forest, where the hallowed varietal of the same name was first isolated by British researchers in 1931. When preparing Gesha Village, the team behind the project trekked into the forest and gathered seeds from the wild coffee trees growing there, selecting those that genetically resembled the original 1931 expedition Geisha.See coffees
To get the best out of these coffees from Gesha Village, as with the
rest of our coffees, we follow a few simple principles. Our approach to coffee brewing at home
is rather straightforward, not focussing too much on endless small adjustments and tweaking.
Using fresh clean water, with an appropriate mineral content, and resting the coffee after roast
are the most important factors; once you have these under control, you can begin brewing
transparent and clean cups at home. You can pull out that final little sparkle from a coffee by
brewing carefully and evenly, and grinding correctly for the chosen brew method.
Probably the most important factor in brewing is using clean water, of an appropriate mineral
content. Water makes up the vast majority of our coffee, so makes a huge difference to all
aspects of the final character of the brew. Off-flavours in water (such as chlorine) can make it
into the cup, but even more importantly, the balance and level of water’s mineral content
dictate what we are able to extract from a coffee. Dissolved minerals in water exist as charged
ions, which bind to the flavour compounds in coffee, extracting them into the cup. Each type of
mineral has a different influence on the cup, so a balanced mineral content will lead to
balanced final cups. For home brewing we recommend the Peak Water filter. The precision with
which it is able to create clean water with an ideal mineral balance for coffee makes it one of
the most vital pieces of equipment for home brewing that we know of.
Peak Water filter
We also recommend resting your coffee after roasting. When coffee is roasted, chemical changes
in the beans take place, and one of the by-products of these changes is carbon dioxide gas. This
gas becomes trapped in the bean cell structure, and slowly seeps out over time. This makes it
difficult to brew clean cups, by fizzing out as you attempt to brew coffee, and by dissolving
into carbonic acid during brewing, causing off-flavours in the cup. As a general guide, we
wouldn’t even try to brew a coffee that’s less than 7-10 days from roast, and we’d strongly
recommend keeping some coffee and experimenting with how much coffees open up at 6 weeks and
beyond. This is true especially with very high quality raw material such as that from Gesha
Grinding the coffee correctly for the chosen brew method and contact time is important in order
to control the amount that we extract from the coffee. Grinding finer will extract more, while
grinding coarser will extract less. As a general rule, if you extract too much from a coffee, it
will taste dry and bitter, and if you extract too little, the coffee will taste thin and sour.
By tasting every cup you brew with a critical palette, and changing the grind size accordingly,
you’ll make sure to brew transparent and delicious brews.
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This incredible raw material, grown in its native wild forest, combined with careful processing, creates wild complexity.