What is a cultivar?
“Cultivars are plant varieties that have been produced in cultivation by selective breeding. “
As coffee cultivation spread from Africa to new distinct countries and regions, the creation of new coffee cultivars became necessary. These plant wild varieties were altered and built in order to harmonize with each new microclimate.
Roasters around the world now explore and celebrate the diversity of different cultivars and actively pursue the potential impact cultivar can have on cup quality.
In the spirit of these pursuits, we have secured two unique cultivars: Geisha and Sudan Rume.
This year, we wanted a special release that was exceptionally dynamic and unlike any of our seasonal offerings. After cupping through over 50 incredible coffees, we selected our two favorites, and it just so happens that both come from farms run by the same producer.
What is geisha?
Note: There is discrepancy within the coffee industry as to whether or not it’s “Geisha” or “Gesha.” Purveyors use these terms somewhat interchangeably.
This type of Arabica stems from the work of a group of agronomists in Ethiopia in the early 20th century searching for disease resistant heirloom varietals of coffee. One of the varietals they brought to Latin America came from the town of Gesha, and bore that name. It was originally planted in Costa Rica, and although it tasted very unique it proved difficult to grow and low yielding. In the coffee buying market of the time, unique flavor wasn’t exactly a sought after attribute, and high yields were king.
A few farmers kept Geishas, but the first to have any commercial success was the Peterson family of Boquete, Panama. Starting in 2004, Geisha lots from the Peterson’s farm Hacienda La Esmerelda started winning awards (notably Best of Panama and SCA’s Roaster’s Choice), and setting records for the price of green coffee. Lots of their Geshas sold for upwards of $100 per pound at auction at a time when commodity grade coffee was selling for less than one dollar per pound.
WHat is sudan rume?
Discovered in 1942 in Boma Plateau, southeast of the Republic of Sudan, one of the few places in the world where Arabica coffee grows in the wild condition. Sudan Rume is a semi-wild Arabica variety found in Marsabit mountain in a forest of African intertropical zone. It is known by it’s distinguishable copper-colored leaves and it’s excellent cup profile. Sudan Rume has long been used in coffee cultivation as a source of “quality” genes, but is rarely planted because it doesn’t produce large yields