Part of the industry’s job is to better identify these true-to-the-varietal coffees and protect the Geisha name. Countries like Panama have already started doing this, to create origin denomination and set an expectation for the Panama Geisha brand.
Colombia has more small producers than any other country in the world. These small producers are often remote and have limited access to information. When word of Geisha coffees fetching high prices reached some of these producers, they naturally wanted to find seeds to plant their own. Some were able to find seeds of genuine Geishas, some found seeds of varieties that resemble Geisha, and some were duped and received random seeds.
Jose Joaquín Bolaños and Julio Alberto Muñoz are two producers from San Agustin in the south of Huila. Both producers planted their Geisha trees in 2017 and this was their first real harvest. The coffee tastes like Geisha with lots of floral notes, stone fruits, and citrus. The intensity of the “Geisha” flavours in these coffees are lower than those of a more genuine Panama geisha, but the two coffees have other attributes that are quite nice: there is an earthy attribute to the as well as a creaminess that rounds out the cup very nicely. All in all, these are two tasty renditions of Geishas! We feel that these both make for amazing R3 coffees but are not quite at the intensity level of our Uncommon Collection coffees.
Both Jose and Julio use a fermentation process that includes 12 hours of carbonic maceration, followed by 24-30 hours of traditional fermentation. I plan to visit both men this fall and will be learning more about where the Geishas come from, and to see their fermentation processes in action.
This green coffee was frozen immediately on arrival in Calgary, to preserve freshness.