Monday, 27 June 2016

Making It Rain: Rainmaker Gesha Coffee Project.

A couple of weeks ago Supreme Coffee did their first limited release of a very special coffee, the Rainmaker Gesha from La Soledad in Guatemala. They were lucky enough to be visiting La Soledad in 2013 just as their Gesha trees were first able to produce enough cherries to generate a tasting sample. Fast-forward three years; the coffee trees are maturing and producing more fruit, and they received the first shipment of La Soledad Gesha ever exported. The Rainmaker Gesha is a special coffee for several reasons. Mainly for its excellent flavour profile and exquisite quality. But perhaps most importantly, this coffee gives us a window into the process involved in developing new exciting coffee varietals.

I managed to secure a bag to taste when it was released (which was lucky as it sold out within one day of release!). Taste wise is was pretty amazing. Usually i'm not that great at picking out the different notes of the flavour profiles but this one was very clear Apricot, Brown Sugar & Mandarin. I think because Supreme like to roast on the light side for their filter coffees it really helps the fruity, floral notes to really shine through.

Since this varietal of Coffee is so special, i asked Coffee Supreme when i ordered if they could include a few green beans so i could try to grow seedlings from them. 
This page will be the beginning of a process hopefully of growing these Gesha Trees. I firstly soaked the beans over-night in water and then planted them in potting mix. I'll leave them on my window sill covered in plastic to try & germinate them. Fingers crossed!

Gesha is probably the best-known single variety of coffee, this type has been made famous by plots of it being cultivated on land owned by the Peterson family in Boquete, Panama. The Petersons' farm, Hacienda la Esmeralda, has become a kind of a trademark spot for the coveted plant, which originated near the Ethiopian town of Gesha and was planted in Panama as a Leaf-Rust resistant type in the 1950s. Geshas can also be found in Honduras and Colombia among other origins, and they continue to command exceptional prices on the specialty market. The most striking thing about Gesha variety coffees is that they taste nothing like their 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. With notes of Jasmine, Orange Blossom, sweet Clover Honey, lightly toasted Green Tea - well cared for Geshas are a stand-out on a cupping table. Rainmaker's flavour-profile is Apricot, Brown Sugar & Mandarin.

Here is some more info regarding Rainmaker courtesy of Coffee Supreme......

La Soledad is run by Raul Perez, and named after Raul's grandmother, Soledad de Carmen. Raul inherited the reins to the farm from his father, who had worked it for the previous 30 years. While Raul has continued the family’s commitment to producing quality coffee, he has led La Soledad a step further by employing processing techniques and cultivating coffees previously unseen on Guatemalan mountainsides.
Raul’s newest project, the Scorpion Selection, focuses on developing small amounts of diverse and exotic coffee varietals that introduce new flavours to La Soledad’s traditional taste profile. And as expected, the coffee is produced with the same high standard of care and processing the farm is renowned for.

The first fruit to come out of the Scorpion Selection project is the Rainmaker Gesha.

In 2007, at a time when the Gesha variety was still a closely held industry secret, La Soledad was lucky enough to secure about nine seeds of the variety to begin their plantation. From these seeds, Raul and his team successfully grew five trees. It would, however, be another five years before these trees were able to produce usable seeds to expand the farm.

By 2013, La Soledad was able to cultivate enough seedlings from their original tree stock to plant one hectare of land. Selecting the right area to establish the Gesha plantation was the next critical step. Raul selected a plot about 1600 metres above sea level that would shelter the trees from wind and maximise their exposure to early morning sunshine.

Raul also decided that the Gesha plantation would be the first section of the farm to be planted in a new grid system that set an equal distance of three-square metres between each tree. The belief behind this formation was that the trees would be better assisted in growing into bigger and stronger plants that could outlast other plantation’s planting systems.

Each row of the grid is oriented east to west to exploit the available sunlight hours. The more sunlight the trees can absorb, the more energy they will have to produce new cherry and develop the full fruit flavours, complexity and sweetness synonymous with Gesha, but with the added La Soledad character and clarity.

After almost ten years, La Soledad is able to harvest just enough green coffee to be able to share it with their closest allies and friends who have invested in growing strong relationships with the farm.

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