We’re a big fan of Luis Anibal’s extended fermentation naturals and this Gesha is no exception. This a crazy fruit bomb with notes of passion fruit, banana, cherry, orange, and marzipan with delicate floral aromas. Delicious stuff.
PRODUCER: Luis Anibal Calderon
PREPARATION Natural, Anoxic Fermentation
LOCATION: Villa Betulia, Acevedo, Huila
ALTITUDE: 1,500 – 1,600 masl
Luis Anibal is a second-generation coffee grower born in Acevedo, Huila. When he turned 15, his father gifted him a small portion of land from which he was able to start earning some profits. He married at 30 and by the time he was 40 he owned and operated a 20 hectare farm, Villa Betulia. In order to expand to a second farm, Luis took out a large bank loan, but due to the low C-price over the next couple of years he saw profits decimated and ended up having to sell the new land to pay back 40% of the loan. By 2011 Luis Anibal was at risk of losing his remaining farm to the bank and needed to improve his financial situation so he started selling to his town’s specialty association who paid 15% above the C-price.
Throwing himself into specialty production, Luis Anibal planted 5000 Gesha trees in 2012 which now grow alongside exotic varietals such as Tabi, Java, Sidra, Maragogype, Pacamara, Papayo, Mokka and pink Bourbon.
Luis Anibal was one of the first farmers in Huila to produce high-end micro-lots as well as mastering alternative processing methods such as extended fermentation, honey, and natural. During the harvest, he provides jobs to locals, which has economic impact for the community Under the guidance of his exporter, Luis Anibal began planting native trees amongst his coffee trees in 2019. The aim is to reduce the need for fertilisers, preserve his soil and improve his cup quality.
This coffee was carefully hand-picked in order to select only the ripest cherries. After harvest, the cherries are rested in wide beds for 24 hours to begin their fermentation. After that first period they are transferred into GrainPro bags to create an anoxic (oxygen free) atmosphere as the CO2 created during fermentation pushes any remining oxygen out of the bag. This fermentation is allowed to continue for 200 hours, allowing the development of compounds responsible for fruit flavours without the risk of some undesirable microbial activity that requires oxygen. After this period the coffee is sun-dried on raised beds until the ideal moisture content is achieved.
This micro-lot is 100% Gesha, a variety which was originally collected from coffee forests in Ethiopia in the 1930s. From there, it was sent to the Lyamungu research station in Tanzania, and then brought to Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) in Central America in 1953, where it was logged as accession T2722. The variety was recognised for its tolerance to coffee leaf rust and so CATIE distributed it widely throughout Panama in the 1960s. It wasn’t favoured by farmers however, due to its brittle branches and relatively low yield, so wasn’t widely planted.
There are actually multiple genetically distinct plant types which have been referred to as Gesha, many of which share similar geographic origins in Ethiopia. World Coffee Research have confirmed that the Panamanian Gesha descendant of T2722 is a distinct and uniform variety. If the plants are managed well at high altitude, then the cup profile can be phenomenal and is well known for its delicate floral and peach aromas.
There is no set translation from the dialects of Ethiopia to English which has resulted in two different, and interchangeably used spellings. The coffee was originally collected in a region close to a mountain whose name is most commonly rendered in English as “Gesha” however the coffee was first recorded in germplasm records with the spelling “Geisha,” and coffee researchers and germplasm banks have mostly maintained that spelling over many decades. The use of the word Geisha is problematic however, as the word’s origin in a non-coffee context carries a very specific set of connotations which many feel have been misappropriated for marketing value.
The global reputation of Gesha was cemented by the Peterson family of Boquete, whose Hacienda Esmarelda won the Best of Panama competition in 2004 with this variety, and the following year, their Gesha received exceptionally high marks and broke the then-record for green coffee auction prices, selling for over $20/pound.