ICON 34 – Natural Gesha
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Grown by neighbouring farms and then processed carefully by our good friend Simon Brown, this amazing lot is impeccable. This is the first year of exporting from Las Etíopes where they have planted some unique and rare varieties, and we are expecting big things for the future. We taste notes of peach, mandarin and cacao nibs with floral aromas and a syrupy body.
PRODUCER: Simon Brown and Merlith Cruz
LOCATION: Las Etíopes, El Porvenir, Jaén, Cajamarca, Peru
ALTITUDE: 1,750 - 2,050 masl
BAG SIZE: 150g
ROAST DATE: 30/10/23
We’ve known Simon Brown for many years and have travelled with him in various producing countries during his time as head of sourcing for a large importer. For the last few years however, he’s been based in Peru where he has settled and made a home for himself as well as starting a family.
In 2019 Simon purchased Las Etíopes, a 7ha farm situated in the village of El Porvenir in Jaén, Cajamarca. The farm sits at an altitude of 1,900 masl and reaches 2,050 masl at its peak. In early 2020 the first trees were planted and consist of Ethiopian heirloom varieties, Gesha, Wush Wush and Sidra.
In 2021, Simon and his partner Merlith Cruz expanded the farm by buying a further 3 hectares of land sitting between 1,750 and 1,900 masl, which was planted with Bourbon, Catuai, Caturra, Catimor and a small amount of Pacamara. These local varieties, when combined with the high altitudes, organic matter rich soils, and humid climate produce coffees with a pronounced acidity and great body. 2022 was the first season in which they produced enough coffee to export and a farm blend of the varieties grown there won them 19th place in the Cup of Excellence this year!
Of the Ethiopian varieties grown there are around 5 lines, some of which are compact types and others taller and somewhat similar to Bourbon or Gesha. The Gesha grown at the farm is made up of two different lines, one of Ethiopian descent and the other from Panama. New growth on Gesha can have either green or bronze tipped leaves and when grown from seed can produce either colour regardless of the traits of the parent tree. It is thought that the green tipped variant has better cup quality, and in Panamá these green tipped plants are picked separately. In this case almost all of the Gesha plants in the farm have green tips as they have been selected from the nursery.
This lot is made up of coffee from Las Etíopes farm and from their neighbours, or “outgrowers”, in the area. Most of the coffee farmers in the area sell to intermediaries (also known as aggregators or coyotes in Central America) who buy their coffee in cash at their door, often at the local market rate, and then drive it to the city where they sell to exporters. The team at Las Etíopes have set up a small wet mill this year in order to process and dry cherry bought from the neighbouring farmers. Premiums are paid for the quality of cherry selection to incentivise good picking and in order to pay more sustainable prices to farmers, certainly more than intermediaries would pay them.
Many neighbours in the area grow Gesha but either produce tiny quantities or lack the infrastructure to be able to process and dry the coffee well, so for this reason the team at las Etíopes started to buy cherry from neighbours and process it along with theirs. The fruits are selectively picked ensuring only fully ripe cherries are used. They are placed in a barrel to ferment for 72 hours before being slowly dried for 30 to 40 days on raised beds depending on the climactic conditions.