Discourse & Dissent: Contrasting Coffees Box Set
In this round, we get to explore coffees that are different, but closer than they seem, and the interconnectedness that flows through all things coffee.
Most of us experience coffee as an everyday drink. The simplicity of this ritual belies the truth that coffee contains an amazingly complex and storied history, filled with tales of how it came to be, journeys of discovery and dissemination, and - in the case of the plant itself - unmatched genetic diversity.
Ethiopia is considered the birthplace of coffee; it contains around 99% of the genetic material found globally. Almost every coffea arabica plant is derived from one out of the thousands of Ethiopian landraces by way of the Arabian peninsula. Even though you find coffees a world apart, they’re more connected than you might think. To show this idea in action, we’re highlighting two exemplary coffees, Colombia Finca La Estrella Gesha and Ethiopia Dinkinesh: Nano Genji, with our Discourse & Dissent Series.
Nano Genji features varieties called indigenous landraces - coffee plants that originally thrived in the wild, but were domesticated and adapted under specific farming conditions. Because landraces haven’t been hybridized with lower quality varieties and were passed down by word-of-mouth for generations in Ethiopia, the cup quality can be outstanding. Nano Genji exemplifies the beautiful floral-fruit notes of lychee, hibiscus, candied citrus that we enjoy from many Ethiopian landraces.
From its cradle in Ethiopia, coffee spread across the global tropics, hopping the Red Sea to Yemen, trekking to India and Indonesia, before landing in South and Central America. In the Americas, one landrace selection stands out above the rest. In the 1930’s, the Ethiopian village of Gesha sent a few promising landrace selections to Kenya and Tanzania. However, it wasn’t until the 1950’s that Gesha crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Costa Rica, then to Panama in the 60’s. Fast forward to 2003-04 when Gesha was first separated as a single varietal cup, with its intensely floral and sweet tropical fruit aromatics exploding onto the Specialty coffee scene with a huge win at the Best of Panama coffee competition. From there, the Gesha variety became incredibly popular and was quickly adopted by producers around the coffee belt.
Featuring the Gesha variety, our Colombia Finca La Estrella echoes the floral and fruit-forward qualities of Nano Genji and other high-quality Ethiopian coffees. Tasting notes of jasmine, oolong tea, passion fruit, papaya, and Meyer lemon all feature prominently in this cup, with vibrancy and balance that pull it all together.
A little coffee history allows us to experience the idea that even though these two coffees were grown thousands of miles apart, they share more in common than you might think. Coffee may be an everyday drink, but there’s so much it has to reveal as we seek to unconceal.