We are excited to present a new limited edition coffee for this year’s holiday season: the Limited Edition Panama Finca Lerida Geisha! Our Limited Edition series showcases coffees of extremely high quality, which display complex and interesting flavour profiles.
Beautifully presented in a Limited Edition tin, this coffee is a complex, sweet, and beautifully balanced cup of coffee with signature geisha’s flavours of lavender, vanilla, cherry, mango, fresh butter, nectarine, milk chocolate, and licorice.
Continue reading below for Coffee Director Fay's thoughts on our latest limited edition coffee release.
Selecting the next limited edition for the festive season was somewhat of a mission albeit a fun and exciting one. Showcasing a coffee that is ‘super special with an outstanding cup profile’ was the brief. The availability of exotic varietals and experimental processing methods with unusual cup profiles seems to be increasing however, we had our hearts set on a Geisha - a prized coffee variety that is enjoyed for its delicate floral notes, intense sweetness, sparkling acidity and cup complexity.
We cupped several lots, comparing different origins and processes and all with amazingly delicious flavour profiles, but it was clear as to which coffee excited us the most and displayed the Geisha characteristics we were looking for. The Panama Finca Lerida Geisha is an absolute sensory delight with its notes of cherry and nectarine, delicate lavender, fresh butter and a sparkling lime acidity – complex, sweet and beautifully balanced.
If the Geisha variety is new to you, here’s a little history. Originally from the Gori Gesha Forest in Ethiopia, the Geisha (or Gesha) variety made its way to Panama in the 1960’s after it was recognised for its tolerance to leaf rust. The coffee came to prominence in 2004 when the Peterson family of Boquete, Panama, entered it into the "Best of Panama" competition and auction. It received exceptionally high marks and broke the then-record for green coffee auction prices, selling for over $20/pound.
To thrive and produce the delightfully complex cups we’ve come to enjoy from a Geisha, the tree requires extra TLC - fertile soils, high elevation and extra care to protect it from berry borer disease and nematodes – a common soil pest. In addition to its very distinctive cup profile, the yield of a Geisha tree is also comparatively low to most other varieties, producing very small micro lots which is also a significant contributing factor to the high prices that a Geisha coffee attracts.
Finca Lerida has a fascinating origin story. It was stablished in 1917 by Tollef Boche Mönniche, a Norwegian engineerand graduate of the Royal College of Dresden, Germany.
After participating in the design and construction of the Panama Canal locks’ emergency hatches and the gigantic docks in Colon, Tolef Boche travelled to the High Lands of Chiriqui in 1911. Unfortunately, during his time working on the Canal, he contracted malaria not once but four times and so he began his search for a new home with clean, fresh air to help him recover. After sailing for seven days along the Pacific Shore and riding horseback towards the Central Ranges, Tolef Boche arrived at Finca Lerida, which at the time was half tropical forest and half grasslands.
In 1924 he and his wife Julia retired and moved to the farm where he built his new home completely by hand and built the very first coffee plantation in Panama. Located in the highlands of Boquete, Finca Lerida sits on the slopes of Volcan Baru, between 1500 - 2000 meters above sea level and is one of the oldest and most traditional coffee plantations. The rich volcanic soil, spectacular landscape, lush forest and Panama’s perfect ‘bean belt’ location sitting along the equator is supreme for cultivating coffee plants – especially Geisha’s.
Finca Lerida is composed of 5 farms and is managed by the Amaruso Family who grow an array of coffee varieties from Geisha to SL28 to Orange Bourbon, Pacamara and more. The secret of their success is attributed to their strict picking standards and processing methods - closely monitoring the cherries/beans throughout to ensure the coffee meets its full potential and they continue to produce amazing, award-winning coffees. Also, worth mentioning that if you’re ever in the ‘neighbourhood’ and fancy a stay at a coffee plantation, Finca Lerida has a boutique hotel located right amongst their exotic varieties…I certainly wouldn’t mind.
As I write this piece, the Finca Lerida Geisha has not been released however I anticipate the first roast and brew with much excitement. It’ll be a pour over for me and I look forward to standing around the cupping table and sharing this delightfully sweet and special coffee alongside the team.
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