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Kenya Auction Gesha Varietal
June 8, 2007

The spectacular success of the Geisha varietal in Panama has set off a world wide treasure hunt. Intrepid roasters are following Richard Burton's footsteps and searching for the source of the Geisha. This Gesha, not the spelling, is from Kenya. An agricultural station there took a number of varietals from Gesha province in Ethiopia in the 1920s. They've had scattered plantings in Kenya ever since. Actually, it is not just one varietal from the gesha forests, but a small plot of land with 50-60 different wild varietals. The Geisha sensation has resulted in this auction lot with beans only from the Gesha varietals. Is this a Jaramillo with Kenyan body and power?

Nope, sorry. But it is a very good coffee and, given the provenance, a lot of fun to taste. The varietals in this lot are somewhat rustic, so one gets variations in taste, even in the same cup from sip to sip. Also, flavors in the cup are new to me, and probably to most people, and therefore somewhat harder to describe. There are forest and woody notes reminiscent of a good Sulawesi, and there's a hint of the apricots and flowers that made the Panama Geishas so famous. But the most dominant notes are the Kenya terroir flavors of blackcurrant and cloves, but transformed into something a little lighter, a slightly buttery mouthfeel carrying an imaginary fruit between apricot and berry, along with cinnamon, perhaps.

This coffee may even be better for SO espresso than for brewing. It is slightly dry, and should be used at lower than usual doses. When done right, it produces a well balanced, complex shot that is even more unique than the cup. A good SO to spring on anyone who thinks they've tasted it all.

Dry fragrance: 4.0
Wet Aroma: 3.5
Flavor: 8.5
Finish: 8.0
Acidity: 6.5
Body: 8.0
TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 88.5

  • Lighter Roasts: Hard to pin down dark fruit and spice flavors.
  • Darker Roasts: Don't go to far into the second on this one.
  • As Espresso: Very good shot, and one that will have people guessing.


UPDATED: June 9, 2007