This is a traditional washed Gesha from Jalapa, Guatemala, produced by Inmer Abel Valladares Rodríguez on Finca Linda Vista, a sub-farm of El Pinal y Anexos.
The flavor profile is gentle yet complex and evokes notes of pineapple, jasmine, apricot, and mandarin orange.
Our roasters found this Gesha to respond well to longer drying time and lower end temperatures, but to be fairly easy to manage and repeat profiles predictably.
When brewed, the cup is clean and expressive and responded well to a flat-bottom filter pour-over.
Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman
Unmistakably Gesha-like, this lovely offering from Finca Linda Vista is characterized by sweetness and cleanliness, and punctuated by irrepressible florality. We tasted delicate notes of jasmine, lilac, marigold, and apple blossom, just to name a few. These elegant notes are held up by a gentle-but-present acidity like a soft pineapple or mandarin orange. There are other lush flavors to be discovered here as well, the adventurous may find lychee, mint tea, panela, and rose.
The coffee is gentle yet evocative, and complex, but uncomplicated. You could spend your mid-morning unpacking its nuances, or just as easily let its fragrance float by you on an early autumn breeze while you catch up with an old friend.
Source Analysis by Mayra Orellana-Powell
Inmer Abel Valladares Rodríguez was involved with coffee production as a consultant for 20 years prior to managing a farm himself, which he finally did in 1998. Since then his work has been extremely successful: in addition to Gesha, El Pinal y Anexos produces Pacamara, Maracaturra, and Pacas, and its coffee has scored over 88 points in recent Cup of Excellence competitions.
El Pinal y Anexos is a 48-hectare estate divided into 12-hectare individual farms, each of which produces and sells under their own name. As a whole, the four single farms are processed centrally and managed by the same 90-110 person team that Inmer oversees each harvest. Finca Linda Vista is one of the sub-farms, and is the source of this Gesha lot that we tasted and bought for the first time this year.
Since its founding, El Pinal y Anexos has been a family affair, with everyone participating in some way in picking, processing, quality control, drying or storage management. Cherry selection in the field follows a strict Brix meter minimum of 18-20% (a Brix meter is a refractometer for fruit, reading sugar content as a percentage of total liquid tested). After picking, cherry is transported to the estate’s processing site where it is depulped and fermented overnight, and then transferred to one of many segmented spaces on the estate’s patio, or, in the case of special preparations like this lot, dried on raised beds inside a greenhouse for 12-16 days.
Tasting this coffee is an utter delight. The Gesha cultivar itself may have a strong reputation and a consistent expression when grown in Panama or Colombia, but elsewhere in the Americas it often struggles to fulfill buyers’ expectations in florality, sweetness, or cup structure. Many people plant it, hype it, and many do receive great prices for the pedigree alone. We were extremely impressed by this specimen from Inmer’s farm, and felt it deserved a wide audience as a Guatemala Gesha. It is beautiful, subtle, and brings many of the hallmark characteristics we have learned to expect from the cultivar. We’re tasting honeycomb, jasmine and lilac, and an open cup structure with lingering vanilla and citrus zest. It is unmistakably a Gesha—a rare and successful expression coming from Guatemala, and moreover from a lesser-known department.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
This Gesha cultivar from Guatemala presents some interesting and unique physical metrics. The coffee is clean and demonstrates a nice example of the oblong shape associated with the first Panama Geshas (accession T2722) we started observing in the early 2000’s. The green is of somewhat low density, particularly when measured as free-settled due to the bean shape, and overall somewhat large and widely distributed between screens 15-19. It has a slightly higher than average moisture content and water activity, as well.
All these metrics combine to create some surmountable challenges for the roaster. First and foremost, keep the green away from extreme temperatures and humidity, and once you break the seal, be sure to either roast within a few days or store the remainder in an airtight environment. Second, keep an eye on some behavior patterns in the roaster – between the cultivar’s tendency to scorch and the lowish density, wide screen size, and elevated moisture figures you’ll find heat absorption unusual compared to more standard beans. Check my notes below on the Diedrich IR-5 for more on this.
The origins of Gesha are well-trod territory by now, having made its way from selections in western Ethiopia in the 1930s to Central America by the 1950s and 60s, before being recognized for its quality potential on the Petersons’ coffee farm, Hacienda La Esmeralda, in 2004. The tree was in fact first prized for its resistance to rust (a status which it has since lost), and multiple collections were made. The reference sample from CATIE’s original 1953 collection (labelled T2722) is not a perfect match to many trees now labelled “Ge(i)sha” in the field (undoubtedly at least partly related to its selection from the heart of coffee’s genetic diversity). It seems likely that the cultivar’s genetic diversity, combined with its explosion of popularity over the last 15 years, contributes to a broadening range of flavor profiles and qualities.
Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Chris Kornman
Some of the first Geshas that crossed my path as a production roaster were from the early auction lots, pre-2010, from Hacienda la Esmeralda. The fact that at the time these coffees were valued at hundreds of dollars per pound made roasting them a nerve-wracking experience. Our batch sizes were relatively small but each bean seemed incredibly precious. Marry this with the fact that really no one had any sort of extensive experience roasting the cultivar meant that we were in relatively uncharted territory when it came to understanding and unlocking the coffee’s flavor potential.
Flash forward a decade or more, and we’re now in a much better position to discuss the idiosyncrasies of Gesha in a drum roaster. The cultivar has a tendency to scorch if exposed to elevated temperatures early in the roast, so taking a gentle approach early in the profile is preferable. As a result, or perhaps in combination with other physical metrics like moisture and density, the coffee will seem to resist heat during early Maillard stage. The roast is going to feel sluggish at first, yet in truth the coffee is going to run away from you if you press it too hard. Trust your instincts and keep Maillard on pace for at least 30% of your total roast time. You’ll need to actively manage your heat at the end of the profile, anticipating first crack and letting the beans develop color with a low rate of rise, between 10-15 degrees per minute once crack begins.
The 5.5 lb profile I’ve attached here starts with a moderate charge temperature and stable environment. The burners are at 30%, our lowest setting, with a 50% airflow baffle – this is roughly the machine’s idle setting. A full 90 seconds, at the turnaround, is where you should start to think about heat adjustments. I turned the gas to 70% which was about as high as I felt comfortable to take this delicate cultivar. At four minutes I opened the airflow fully which has a slight accelerating effect on the burners but also serves to wick away any remaining moisture and smoke in the drum.
Color change in the profile came late, at about five-and-a-half minutes. I held the burners at 70% until about halfway through Maillard when I wanted to start edging down my heat delta in anticipation of first crack. At 8 minutes and a low temperature of 370F I was beginning to hear a few early pops and dropped my burners back to the idle 30% setting. True first crack for this coffee (8:30 at 380F on my roast) was vigorous and unmistakable, and when it starts you should definitely try to keep the coffee from heating too quickly.
I prefer a light roast on this cultivar to bring out the floral notes and highlight the inherent complexity; though this approach may run the risk of bready-ness in the cup if underdeveloped. Thus, spending around 80-90 seconds after first crack in a low heat environment seems ideal to me. I kept an eye on the exterior color, cut my burners at 9:45, and coasted comfortably for the final 15 seconds into a light but manageable 52 (ground) Colortrack score and a touch shy of 15% development ratio. The cup was full of delicate floral notes and has a lush effervescence with fruit accents like lychee, green grape, and mandarin orange.
The coffee is really not that difficult to manage, and I roasted a second batch later in the week which tracked this profile move-for-move, second-for-second. Trust your instincts and take time to enjoy this rewarding roasting experience!
Quest M3s Analysis by Evan Gilman
Unless otherwise noted, I follow a set standard of operations for all my Quest roasts. Generally, I’ll allow the machine to warm up for 15 minutes until my environmental temperature reading is at least 250F, weigh out 200g batch size, and begin roasting when I’ve reached my desired charge temperature. Read my initial post here and my updated post here.
Approaching this coffee with a few choice words in my head from a discussion long ago with Willem Boot about roasting Gesha coffees, I knew I would need to match personalities with the coffee when dropping it into the roaster. A big coffee with a gentle personality, I knew I’d need to be magnanimous with the airflow, and soft with my heat application.
I started my roast at a low charge temperature, 384F, and planned to allow the coffee to soak up heat from its surroundings instead of pushing it too much. I introduced fan at 250F / 2:50 with a plan to move slowly through Maillard, and reduced heat application to 7.5A at 280F / 3:40 with the same intent. Early in Malliard, I started my regime of heavy airflow, going to full speed at 310F / 4:30. My only other adjustment was to reduce heat to 5A at crack and allow this coffee to roll gently through until 396F and a post-crack development of 15.8%.
Truly, I thought I was in for a wild ride or a difficult roasting experience. That couldn’t be further from the truth! This was a cakewalk, straight into the cup. Clearly, special coffees like this are special for more than just their flavor attributes. What a pleasure to roast.
And in the cup: Limoncello, lemon curd, black cherry cordial, and a curious touch of spearmint (?). Clearly a very unique coffee, and one that left my mouth feeling so fresh and ready for another sip. The clean effect of this coffee is really amazing, and I watched cups just magically disappear in front of me with great regularlity. At least, as long as this coffee lasted.
I would recommend this one for nearly any preparation, but I loved it dearly on the Chemex. Have at it!
Brew Analysis by Nate Lumpkin
This is the first Gesha I’ve had the chance to taste this year, and I found it a delicate, complex cup with a lot of sweetness. On a hunch, I grabbed the Kalita Wave in addition to our standard Hario V60—I had a suspicion that the openness of the Kalita’s flat bed would give this coffee room to express itself, and its results confirmed my suspicions!
For both of these brews I used the standard recipe of 18g of coffee and 300g of water, for a ratio of approximately 1:16.6. I find this ratio consistently brews a clean and expressive cup, though I might adjust it a little depending on the results and the dripper. On the V60, it brewed through at a nice crisp 3:03, with a TDS of 1.35 and an extraction 19.8%: right on target! In the cup, this tasted sweet and clean though a little bit simple: we tasted pineapple, panela, lemon bar, rose, mint, and black tea, with a breakfast cereal quality like cheerios or corn flakes.
On the Kalita Wave, this coffee brewed through at almost the exact same time, 3:05, and it showed a slightly higher TDS and extraction of 1.39 and 20.39%. In the cup though, this coffee showed similar sweetness and complexity, but without the cereal notes we tasted grilled pineapple, black cherry, and jolly rancher, with a syrupy body and clean finish. I have to say I prefer this brew to the V60–the breakfast cereal notes detracted a little from the sweet, clean experience of the gesha, and weren’t at all present on the Kalita Wave.