Guatemalan - Montecristo, Geisha - Direct Trade Coffee

Easily one of the top coffees we've ever had the opportunity to taste has been our new Guatemalan Don Gustavo Geisha, a stunning cup, bright citrus and tropical fruit notes with an incredibly smooth body and a candy like finish. It is grown at 1600 Meters above sea level alongside Bourbons and Caturra coffee plants and macadamia nut trees which provide shade for this coffee.  We have been working with Johann Nottebohm (seen beelow) now for 5 years.

The Montecristo Estate is a Rainforest Alliance certified farm. It has schools, housing and many other facilities for its many permanent workers as well as for any workers that come just for the harvest. The schools are also available for the surrounding community that does not work for the farm.   Montecristo has been part of the community for over 40 years, and the farm manager, Don Gustavo (seen below), has been a vital part of it for over 30 years!

What is truly special about this coffee besides the amazing taste was the fact that we were able to see this coffee grow from a seedling 5 years ago. Having this special relationship with Johann for many years allowed us to taste and buy it on its first year of production.  This new area of their farm has 8000 new Geisha trees being planted and is being called FRATELLO for our evolvement in this initiative. 

For those of you who don’t know, a Geisha is a unique varietal not only in taste but also in the way it grows. If treated like a typical coffee varietal/tree a Geisha will grow very slowly and take up to 7 years before it produces any fruit, compared to the 3 to 4 years of most other varietals. What Johann (Owner of the Montecristo Estate) has found is that with proper grafting of a stronger and more productive root system onto his Geisha plants, along with 4 times the amount of fertilization, he has been able to have Geisha’s start producing after 3 years, which is absolutely unheard of.

Other differences of the Geisha include a lower crop yield, typically 25% of what other varietals will yield. When I asked Johann if he felt it was worth growing he told me if he could find people who enjoyed this coffee and were willing to pay the higher cost than it would be worth it to him. He also went on to explain how he felt it was much more resistant to Roya (also known as Coffee Rust) than the Bourbon and Caturra he was also growing, which is still a major concern for Guatemalan farmers.

The Montecristo estate fully washes all their coffee with the Geisha being no exception. It is soaked for thirty-six hours in their fermentation tank then rewashed and soaked again for another two days, giving it the clean crisp notes in the cup. After the two soakings it is Sun died over multiple days and then run through a density shaker to separate the lower density beans away from the lot and then sent through a color sorter where it picks out any discolored beans, after this it is then hand sorted for any defects or broken beans that may have gotten through. After all this it is bagged and put into the bodega to ensure the moisture levels are stable.   Even the bodega at the Montecristo Estate is a very unique as it is lined with Conacaste wood which helps keep the moisture level down in the building, which leads to a more stable coffee, increasing its shelf life and trapping all the characteristics inside the bean.

So is the price and all this work worth it?  I would most definitely say yes! This is such a unique and amazing coffee I recommend for everyone to try this cup at least once. But be warned you may fall in love with it!

Written by: David Schindel, Lead Roaster. 

Panama Mama Cata Geisha Coffee at Analog Cafe!

This weekend at Analog Cafe at the Calgary Farmers Market we will be preparing Panama Mama Cata Geisha on our pour over bar. Fratello has been privileged to be able to purchase this amazing coffee from the Boquete region of  Panama. The Panama Mama Cata Geisha is a rare coffee and we will be offering this January 19-22nd for $4.00 for a 12oz, $4.75 for a 16oz and $26.25 for a 6oz bag to take home!

Read more about the Panama Mama Cata Geisha HERE and on our online STORE

Panama Mama Cata Natural Geisha

Panama Boquete - The Geisha Varietal

…….After cupping these coffees, I was blown away at the cupping profile.  Flavors of Juicy Fruit candy, creamy strawberry, tangerine acidity, intensely sweet and a balanced lingering acidity.  I brewed a Chemex of this in Calgary and found myself gulping it back like I was in a beer drinking competition back in College.  I quickly realized that I had NO CHOICE but to buy some.  Our 200 lb lot of Panama Mama Cata Full Natural Geisha will be available July 2011……Now let me start at the beginning…..

Panama Boquete Geisha Finca Mama Cata

For many years the most expensive prices paid for coffee has been a rare coffee found in Panama.  The record for this Panamanian coffee was set in 2007 when an auction fetched over $150 USD / lb (Green) for coffee grown at Esmeralda Estate using the Geisha Varietal.    Since this time, it is not rare for people to pay 10-20 times the regular asking price for this rare coffee.  In a café setting it is no different.   To get a taste of this coffee, you should expect to pay $10-12 per cup.  Is it worth it?  I think so.

Panama Boquete Geisha Finca Mama Cata Coffee Cherry

So what is with this coffee and what makes it so unique?  I wanted to know as well, so the purpose of going to Panama was to begin to learn about this varietal and appreciate what it brings to the cupping tables. (more…)