This month’s coffee is an exciting Heirloom varietal from Ethiopia, progressively farmed in Gesha Village, roasted by Talor Browne and Jørgen Hansrud from Talor & Jørgen in Oslo, Norway.
About the coffee:
Name: Gesha Village
Owners: Adam Overton and Rachel Samuel
Harvest Season: November – January
Plant Varietal: Illubabor 1974
Coffee Type: Natural Process
Drying Method: Sun
Farm Location and other characteristics:
Location: Southwest Ethiopia
Growing Altitude: 1900 – 2100 masl
Avg. Annual Rainfall: 1150mm
Soil Type: Virgin forest, brown loam soil
Number of Hectares: 471
Hectares Cultivated: 320
Shade: Agro-forestry with mix of indigenous shade trees
About the coffee:
The varietal, Illubabor 1974, was part of a collection from the Jimma Agricultural Research Centre in Ethiopia. This centre studies wild varieties collected from the Ethiopian forests looking for characteristics such as disease resistance, excellent cup quality, and good yields. This heirloom varietal came from samples collected growing wild from the Gori Gesha forest.
Illubabor comes from the Gesha Village — but it’s not geisha coffee ala Panama. Part of the Jimma Research Centre’s work involves looking into possible connections between Panamanian geisha and what’s been found in the surrounding areas of the Gori Gesha forest. Genetic research is being conducted in an attempt to find further links between these two, and shed light on the history of these heirloom varietals.
There is some fascinating — and comprehensive — reading about Illubabor, Gesha Village, and Adam Overton and Rachel Samuels here from Collaborative Coffee Source.
When Talor Browne and Jørgen Hansrud first cupped this it blew their minds. “You know that first time you tasted a coffee and you felt like you really understood what all the fuss was about? This is that coffee. Without a doubt, hands down, this is the most delicious coffee we’ve ever tasted.”
You can read more about Talor & Jørgen here.
You can make a one-off purchase for the coffee here, air freighted direct from Gesha Village to Oslo and roasted by Talor & Jørgen.
There you can also sign up for the Superlatives subscription: where we find beautiful, interesting, and special coffees from roasters all around the world, delivered to your letterbox each month.
Roast Curve and Details:
Talor was kind enough to share with us the roast curve, charge temp, and other details too. Check them out here:
Brewing and Tasting Notes:
This coffee is the definition of smooth acidity and versatility. It’s a lot of fun to brew with! It’s full of ripe mangos and guava, with the typical berry fruit you get from naturals, bursting with strawberries. That’s just the start — from the first sip this shows up as a seriously different coffee! The versatility comes off in the range of brew methods appropriate for this bean, from drip, to full immersion. to espresso white or black. This really feels like a coffee that just keeps on giving.
Water at 100C (212F) (gotta be just off boil!)
12g ground coffee to 200g water (60g/L)
Ground for pourover.
We’re working on a fairly epic update to the Barista Hustle water recipe, but until then it will definitely work for filter and espresso!
6:00 to 10:00 brew time before decanting through a paper filter. The longer you go the less acidity and the more the spicy, Christmas-cake character comes out.
While the colour of these beans definitely shows up as a Nordic-style roast, the development is incredibly even — Talor did an amazing job on this coffee. Drip and immersion times certainly need to be extended to get the full range of flavours out from this one though, and while it still expresses some beautiful fruit notes at those shorter times, it’s around the 5/6 minute mark the magic happens. That’s my personal preference though — the beauty of such even development is you have a range of flavours to explore to find the one you like best.
Mostly the same parameters I usually use: 5.5 bars pump pressure, 18g dose in 18g VST basket, ~38g beverage weight, 20-25 second shot time, 10kg tamp force, with frozen beans ground straight from the freezer. Only difference was I raised the brew temp from 90°C to 94°C — I was finding a little too much sourness at 90°C (acidity = good, sourness = bad. If your face is scrunching up and you get shivers down your spine, that’s sour).
If you’ve ever had Nerds from the Willy Wonka Candy Company then that’s the initial hit I got from this. Pixie Dust and Candy is such an apt name, this coffee as espresso is pure candy. Acidity and sweetness are perfectly balanced, resulting in a lip-smacking coffee. If you fine up the grind, extend the brew time out beyond 30 seconds, you pick up all the yummy caramelisation and spiciness of this bean.
The versatility of this coffee extends further to milk. At a 1:2 ratio of espresso to milk, you end up with a strawberry bomb in the cup — it’s phenomenal! Strawberry sweetness and lush richness.
Let us know how you’re brewing your Superlatives, and just have some fun with this one. It’s truly a great coffee!
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We package up the coffee into small 70-100g bags (depending on cost, rarity, and supply) and send it to 800+ subscribers in over 40 countries.
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Learn about past Superlatives here.