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Rosetta Roastery is celebrating its 10th anniversary in the most appropriate way possible, and we're thrilled to be a part of it. After all, we've worked with Rosetta Roastery for almost as long as we've been around. They've been a source of inspiration, knowledge, and most importantly, world class coffee.
When your entire business is about world class coffee, it takes something truly special to stand out, but Rosetta has managed this over the years with a handful of delicious and rare finds which they've released under their Reserve label. We've been fortunate to try a few, including the very memorable predecessor to this one. We're really excited that Rosetta Roastery has managed to up the standard even higher for what is arguably the ultimate Reserve release to date.
About Hacienda La Esmeralda
This coffee comes from Hacienda La Esmeralda. You could easily make a case for this being the most celebrated coffee estate in the world. The Peterson family took the specialty coffee world by storm in 2004 when one of their lots broke the record for the most expensive coffee ever sold. It was a record that they would smash a few more times. What was particularly impressive about this feat was that they did it with a variety of coffee that no one had paid much attention to or valued at that time...
About Geisha (or Gesha)
The Geisha (or Gesha) variety of coffee is all the rage these days. It's almost hard to believe that there was a time when it wasn't prized. It's like the pinot noir of coffee. It's hard to grow, delicate, refined, and still relatively rare. It hails from the Gesha region of Ethiopia, which is also said to be the birthplace of coffee. When carefully cultivated and produced, it creates mind-blowing cups of coffee. Of course, it is the Peterson family and Hacienda La Esmeralda that we can thank for its popularity. They are the ones that shone a light on it back in 2004.
About this lot
There's a lot to be excited about in this particular lot of coffee. If you've read this far, you understand that a Geisha from Hacienda La Esmeralda is something special. The Peterson's didn't just put Geisha at the forefront of specialty coffee back in the early noughties; they have also continued to win awards and command incredible premiums at auction for their sought after coffees. But this lot is even more special than the ones we've tried before, because this one is a natural.
Natural processing has received a lot of attention in the last few years. Once dismissed as a cheaper alternative to washed that didn't preserve cup clarity, the natural process has been refined and improved, and you now see many award winning lots produced using this method. In fact, there have been quite a few naturally-processed Geshas from Gesha Village in Ethiopia that have stolen the show at many international (and South African) competitions in recent years.
So it's no understatement to say that this coffee has a pedigree like no other we've seen before. It's a Gesha. It's a Hacienda La Esmeralda, and it's naturally processed. It's actually a specialty coffee lover's dream in terms of its credentials.
But what about in the cup?
Phaedon's tasting notes
If there were ever any doubts about my coffee nerdiness, my reaction when I heard that Rosetta Roastery was doing a Hacienda La Esmeralda Natural would have quickly put a stop to them. Even before I knew we'd have a chance to sell it to our customers, I bought a bag for me and my wife to enjoy over the festive season. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate.
When brewed optimally, this coffee is a flavour and aroma symphony, but I'm not going to lie to you; I did have to really make sure I dialled it in just right to enjoy it at its best. Thankfully I managed to do so relatively quickly, and savoured several mouth-watering cups. I actually found that it tasted every bit as good at 4 weeks as at 1 week old as well.
My favourite cups of this coffee were actually brewed in my trusty Chemex: 31.5g, 500ml, 93C, 45s bloom, single pour, 4min draw down, - pretty simple in the end. This yielded a real flavour adventure.
The aroma on this coffee is decidedly floral, but with a perfume-like quality that might remind you of flowers like violets more than the herbal teas Geshas are often compared to. There is a subtle tea note in there too, but it's definitely overshadowed by the bouquet of flowers. In terms of flavours, there's a wonderful mix of stone fruit, marmalade and tropical fruit, with a bright and yet boozy finish. It's quite something!
- Roast style: Progressive
- Flavour notes: Bold & silky, peach, violet, boozy
Akin to jasmine rice in appearance - flecked with orange from processing - these elongated beans are prone to 'tipping', adding a challenging dynamic to roasting.
Being a natural means a more measured approach is called for but one is greatly rewarded when successful: the most astounding aromatics contrasted by a delicate, silky body. Low charge, small batch size and a short profile are significant in allowing this coffee to shine.
- Region: Boquete, Chiriqui
- Country: Panama
- Varietal: 100% Panama Geisha
- Altitude: 1600 - 1800m ASL
- Processing: FNatural
- Harvest: 2020