Producer Gesha Village
Varietal Gesha 1931
Clear violet aromatics
This incredible raw material, grown in its native wild forest, combined with careful processing, creates an intense and wild flavour experience.
Produced by Gesha Village in the Bench Maji zone of Ethiopia.Gesha Village
A wild forest of fragile Geisha trees
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.
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.
The Gesha 1931 varietal was selected for its similarity to the Panamanian Geisha strain.Gesha 1931
This lot of Gesha 1931 was grown on the Narsha plot of Gesha Village, reaching up to almost 2000 masl at its highest point. The cherries were then dried in a careful natural process, using raised African beds. The coffee is dried in very thin layers for the first few days, in order to quickly reduce the moisture content so that almost no fermentation occurs on the beds. The layers are then slowly built up and the coffee is moved to dry under shade from day 10 onwards, slowing the overall drying time. This reduces the chance of damage to the coffee’s cell structure, meaning the coffee tastes its best for much longer after harvest, and is also one of the reasons why such a clean cup is maintained. This incredible raw material, grown in its native wild forest, combined with careful processing, creates an intense and wild flavour experience. Clear violet aromatics are followed by soft berry yoghurt, and a confected sweetness.
The natural, or dry process, is the traditional process, going back generations. When accomplished in a controlled and careful manner, dry processed coffees can produce flavour experiences not found in wet processed coffees, deep fruits and florals, normally with heavier mouthfeel and lower acidity. The cherries are first sorted, and then laid out on in thin layers (2-6 cm) on raised drying beds. These are almost always used for high quality naturals, as they aid airflow around the coffee as it dries, enabling more even drying. It is very important that coffees are sorted very carefully early on in the drying process, as all of the cherries quickly turn dark brown, making it impossible to separate under and overripe cherries. The cherries are turned frequently to avoid mold formation or over-fermentation, until they reach a moisture content of below 20%, and the outer cherry layer shrinks and blackens. This process takes between 2 and 4 weeks, depending on weather conditions.