Crown Jewel Colombia Pitalito Macerated Honey Gesha – *CJ1466* – 27939 – SPOT RCWHSE

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This is a semi-experimental “macerated” honey Gesha coffee from Pitalito in Huila, Colombia, produced by a small group of growers organized around Terra Coffee SAS.

The flavor profile is complex and true to character with floral notes leaning towards orange blossoms, strong stone fruit peachiness, a pink lemonade-like acidity, and a sweet spice and pipe tobacco resolution.

Our roasters found the coffee fairly easy to work with, though it might need a little extra push of heat at first crack.

When brewed, our barista team found the coffee easy to dial, with excellent results as a pour-over and sparkly as an up-dosed espresso.

Taste Analysis by Sandra Loofbourow

Here is Gesha that lives up to its name, paired with a processing style that does nothing but enhance the flavor profile. In the cup look for an infinity of tasting notes, from delicate sweetness like lychee and orange blossom to punchy notes like intense raspberry and Maraschino cherries. Sweetness lives in the realms of peach, apricot, and ripe plum, and acidity goes from pink lemonade to orange zest to tropical fruits. All of this is elegantly balanced by notes of baking spices like warm nutmeg and cinnamon graham crackers, and even a hint of fresh sweet tobacco – one of my favorite base notes. This coffee tastes just as delicious on pour over as on espresso, as on the cupping table. However you decide to prepare it, it’s going to taste damn good.

Source Analysis by Chris Kornman

Pitalito is a district in southern Huila, and one of the leading producers of coffee in the entire country of Colombia. (Also worth noting, Amanda Amato, the trader who sourced this lot, tells me there’s a restaurant in Pitalito municipality called Pizza-lito)

Within its bounds — the district, not the pizza place — 25 small producers have joined forces with Terra Coffee SAS, a producer-run business which has been with coffee growers in southern Colombia to find and create some of the most exciting new qualities we’ve seen in recent years.

We’ve released several of their recent arrivals as Crown Jewels, including mixed fermentations, Pacamaras, and Pink Bourbons… but this is the first Gesha cultivar we’re including on the Crown Jewel menu from the group.

In addition to traceability, one of Terra’s specialties is homogenizing specific, innovative processing methods across a number of different farms. In this case, 25 Gesha-growing farmers processed their harvests in identical ways: after the cherries were picked, they were depulped and then briefly macerated (or fermented) for about 12 hours. After this, the lightly fermented mucilage-covered parchment was taken to dry on raised beds under parabolic shade for a long 20-25 day drying period.

A number of characteristics in this process are worth unpacking. The fermentation of honey process coffees is something we’re seeing more and more – a brief holding period where the coffee is allowed to macerate prior to drying enhances the fruitiness of the honey processing method without significantly altering the amount of pulp left on the parchment. Additionally, in high quality Colombian coffees, we also frequently see the parabolic drying as an important quality step: the shade provides protection from both seasonal rain and UV light, both of which can damage drying coffee, particularly when the drying takes as long as it has here.

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman

This fermented honey Gesha has some unique characteristics worth keeping in mind as you store and roast your green. Unlike some other macerated honey coffees, this lot does not have the reddish silver skin or strong fruity / pulpy aroma you might expect. Rather, the silverskin is pale and the green smells fresh and grassy. There are a couple of light-colored and slightly ruddy green beans in the mix from the mixed fermentation process, but after multiple cuppings and brewing the coffee is clean and consistent with no traces of fermentation defect whatsoever.

In shape, the green is elongated like the classic Panama Gesha cultivar, but a bit narrower, almost Typica-like. The screen size is spread somewhat widely and skews a bit large. The long shape and large size likely affected our manual density reading a bit, as the coffee registered somewhat middling, but the Sinar reading is closer to what I’d consider above average. I can confirm that in the roaster it does perform a bit more like a high density coffee. Water content and activity are just a shade above average but overall in the pocket for a nicely landed coffee with a lot of dynamic characteristics and a good shelf life.

Shape, size, density, and moisture will interact somewhat oddly with this coffee in the roaster, so keep an eye on roast notes for our suggestions from our trials here on various machines.

Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Chris Kornman

After a few recent excursions with Geshas from Guatemala and Panama, I brought a similar approach to this macerated honey coffee from Colombia. The basic recipe is this: a moderate charge temperature with a reasonably long low-burner soak, followed by a big increase in heat to power through into the color change. The idea is to get about a 50-35-15% ratio, slowing the pace mid-Maillard to coast gently through crack at a low rate of rise and end with a light color but decent amount of development time.

In this case, I ramped up my burners all the way to 100% by minute 2, giving me enough momentum to start dropping the burners by 5 minutes, when color change was observed. I also followed an early-standard airflow profile: closed at the charge, halfway at the turning point, and open by color change. The roast proceeded easily according to plan the coffee seemed happy to absorb heat when it was given, but not overly prone to crashing when gas decreased and airflow increased.

First crack rolled in slowly, which I should’ve taken as an indication that a little push might’ve been needed at this point. Post crack development here lasted a little longer than 90 seconds; I kept holding on for just a little more color development. This might be the one area to really pay attention to your rate of rise. I usually like to let these types of roasts, for these types of beans, drop to nearly zero right as I open the drum door. In this case, the roast plan was followed but the coffee seems to need just a little more heat towards the end of the roast, so use caution when dropping those burners as you approach first crack.

Colortrack indicated that the roast came out in spec on the light side (I prefer to try and preserve those floral notes in Geshas with light color readings). Taking the coffee to the cupping table, Sandra and Doris joined me to evaluate – I always appreciate additional perspective tasting my own roasts, it’s just terribly hard to be objective. In this case, I brought a little concern about underdevelopment to the table and felt the coffee tasted a hint grassy at first.

Sandra noted a strong rose-like and carnation fragrance with a lot of sweetness as the coffee cooled, and Doris found complex, sweet citrus notes in the cup like mandarin orange and Meyer lemon. Softer fruit notes were present as the cups extracted: some hints of apricot and cantaloupe, and a distinct vanilla-like creaminess.

Looking back, this was a really solid first attempt at roasting the coffee. Given a second chance, I’d probably look to enter first crack with a little additional momentum and a slightly higher drop temperature, perhaps in exchange for a slightly shorter development time to see if a bit of extra caramelization would benefit the intensity of the brew.

Aillio Bullet R1 IBTS Analysis by Evan Gilman

Unless otherwise noted, we use both the site and Artisan software to document our roasts on the Bullet. You can find our roast documentation below, by searching on, or by clicking on the Artisan links below.

Generally, we have good results starting our 500g roasts with 195C / 383F preheating, P2 power, F4 fan, and d6 drum speed. Take a look at our roast profiles below, as they are constantly changing!

Getting to roast two Gesha coffees in about as many months is not something to be taken for granted. While this is certainly a different coffee than the CJ1457 from Panama, it still has many of the same hallmark characteristics: large bean size, gentle and sweet acidity, and the incredible floral notes. This Gesha in particular, however, has a slightly lower density and higher moisture content, and you’ll notice that it reacts differently in the roaster.

I did start off this coffee with a higher charge temperature that I have been using in the past, and for the previous Gesha as well. The 428F charge temperature, coupled with P7 power from the outset, and a low fan speed of F1 really got lent a firm hand in pushing this coffee through green/drying stage, though I didn’t quite reach the same 50-35-15% ratio as Chris, above. Close, though: 48-38-13% with a little less time spent in post-crack development as I was only comfortable taking this coffee to a 402F drop temperature.

This roast didn’t require a ton of manipulation. At 275F, I increased fan speed to F2, then at 335F reduced heat application to P6. Shortly afterwards, I increased fan speed further to F3 at 345F and F4 at 363F as I saw the RoR begin to spike. My only other adjustment was to reduce heat again to P5 a little after first crack. Basically, slowly increasing airflow and reducing heat application as the roast progressed.

An eminently quaffable coffee, this Gesha started off with plenty of bright lemony fragrance when hot, and cooled into a delicious medley of syrupy cherry, milk chocolate orange, gentle green tea tannins, and sparkling clean lime candy finish that kept me sipping. While my roast didn’t have the chrysanthemum note I tasted in Chris’, the florals here were reminiscent of geranium and red rose. This coffee just wouldn’t quit!

Brew Analysis by Kaleb Ede

Since I started my career in coffee, I have held a fondness for honey processed coffees in my heart…that sweet mucilage! They can have all the sweetness of dried-in-fruit (natural) coffees, but with the clean mouthfeel of washed processed. This Gesha from Colombia is no exception.

I first brewed this coffee as filter. An easy V60 recipe of a 19g dose with 304g of water. I had 4 different pours in this brew, including the bloom stage. 40g bloom (with 5 stirs), at 30 seconds I poured to 100g, at 1:10 to 200g, and at 1:40 to 300g. I like having a few gentle pours throughout the brew to have a decent amount of agitation. This cup was very drinkable, to say the least. Notes of ripe plum and apricots, florals like orange blossom, and a lovely candied citrus.

What do you do when you have a whole tasting lab and a Colombia Honey processed Gesha to yourself? Well, in my opinion, you pull EK43 espresso shots of it. This was my second brew method. Pulling shots from an EK-43 is one of my favorite pastimes; it always makes for a painless dial. My second shot of this was fantastic. I used a larger dose of 21g of coffee for a 42g yield. I thought maybe the acidity would be over the top, but I was wrong. The acidity was sparkling, but not overwhelming, and the shot had the sweetness of honeycomb, notes of candied orange peel and dried apricot, and also deeper notes of crème brûlée and toasted marshmallow.

Coffee Background

Ever stop to think about all the variables that factor into creating a distinct, complex, clean and consistent community blend? The variables from terroir to processing and everything in between are mind boggling. And what about the human factors from farm management all the way through to brewing. But if you think about it, the backbone of Colombian offerings are regional blends cultivated in many parts on small family owned farms. It’s hard to pinpoint why some regional blends rise to the top each year but this is exactly the business of Terra Coffee SAS, which works directly with small groups of farmers in Huila and Nariño who produce outstanding coffee. This traceable honey processed community blend of the Gesha variety with a vibrant regional profile comes from 25 producers with small farms in the municipality of Pitalito within the department of Huila. Each producer has their own micro-mill where they carefully harvest cherries, depulp, ferment, and gently dry the parchment on raised beds. Imagine the harmony between these producers in farm management and post-harvest practices to achieve a clean and consistent blend. This is where Terra Coffee SAS steps in with harvesting strategies and cupping expertise. Then Mastercol adds crucial logistical support for things like warehousing and milling so this lot can reach the international market.