Luis Herrera (Gesha)
Coffee grown by Luís Herrera
Certification: Organic, Fair Trade, Small Producer
Watermelon, Orange Blossom, Tangerine and Honey
We're very excited to introduce this microlot grown by farmer Luis Herrera in Chiapas, Mexico. It is our first coffee comprised of exclusively gesha variety coffee, and only our second natural-processed coffee (Raro Boda, Ethiopia, being the first).
This coffee is our first in a new series of exceptional quality or interesting variety / processing methods for which we are introducing a brand new blue label to our Canyon family!
About Luís Herrera
The gesha variety originated in Ethiopia. After being “discovered” by a British Colonial Expedition in the 1930s, seedlings were transported to Kenya and Tanzania for research, and later to Costa Rica for its coffee leaf rust-resistant traits.
The variety gained international prominence in 2004, when the Hacienda La Esmeralda farm of Panama submitted their gesha coffee to the Best of Panama coffee competition. The international jury was astounded by the floral aroma, fruit-forward flavor notes and overall quality of the cup—most couldn’t believe it wasn’t an Ethiopian coffee. After 2004, farmers began growing gesha around Central and South America.
Is it geisha or gesha?
Technically, the coffee was named after the mountainous region in Ethiopia where it was discovered. However, this region is called Gesha — not Geisha. Presumably, the British explorer made a mistake in the spelling of the region. Given this information, we prefer to call the variety gesha, after the still-existing region where it originated: Gesha.
What's a "variety?"
The go-to coffee plant species for specialty coffee is Arabica. At Canyon, we source and roast hand-picked Arabica cherries exclusively. Within Arabica, there are many sub-species, also known as varieties.
Varieties are often particular to a given country, regions within a country, and even micro-climates within regions. They're selected for various reasons, with conduciveness to growth in a given climate and susceptibility to "coffee rust" examples of common motivators for selection.
When we buy coffee from co-ops or collectives, the coffee is often grown by multiple farmers tending to and harvesting their own plants, and as a result these coffees are usually blends of different varieties.
In the case of this coffee, farmer Luís Herrera has grown a crop produced 100% by gesha variety plants.
Is it variety or varietal?"
While often used, “varietal” is not a correct term for a coffee plant sub-species! The term was pulled from the wine lexicon, where it is used to describe a wine made from a single variety of grape.
What's a "microlot?"
As the name implies, a coffee microlot is relatively smaller than a normal lot, or harvest yield, of coffee. But why is it smaller? Often, microlots are the result of a single farmer or group of farmers dedicating a smaller plot of land to which they can give more time with higher quality of care and attention to detail. The end result is often a higher quality, more valuable coffee.
What's "natural process?"
The natural process is the oldest method of processing coffee. In this process, once the cherries are harvested, they are set out to dry in the sun—fruit and all. To ensure quality, the cherries are carefully monitored. They’re often raked to promote even drying, and covered at night or when it rains. Once the cherry’s moisture level has diminished to around 11%, the cherries are depulped (usually through a machine), sorted by size and weight, and packed up into GrainPro sacks to be transported to roasters like us!
This is in contrast to "washed" process — the other most common way to process coffee. In washed coffee, cherries are typically depulped right after harvest. This removes most, but not all, of the fruit body and mucilage surrounding the seeds (popularly referred to as "beans"). What remains is then fermented, before being washed again to remove the remaining fruit body from the seeds. The seeds, having now been completely removed from and cleaned of fruit body and mucilage, are commonly set out to dry on patios.
Both of these processes vary greatly across countries, regions and processing stations. Differences have largely to do with what works best for a given climate, and the hard costs involved in building and operating processing stations. However, good processing is a critical component of producing great coffee. It determines how the flavors of the coffee will come out, as well as how the coffee will hold up and age over time prior to roasting.